July 18, 2009

Tale of Genji Chapters 13-21

I am reading The Tale of Genji as part of the Read Along started by Matthew at A Guy's Moleskine Notebook. I am reading Royall Tyler's translation of the novel.

For this post I wanted to include a few of my favorite quotes and passages that I have read in the novel so far. There are so many to choose from- the writing is beautiful and poetic. I have included 10 here for your reading pleasure. If you are reading this book, too, what is one of your favorite passages or quotes so far? If you aren't reading the book, what do you think about the quotes I have included here?

1. "But when he thought of the lady's voice and form, he could find neither in the beauty of the flowers nor in the song of birds any fit comparison." -from Chapter 1, The Paulownia Pavilion

2. "Just as drops of dew settle on cicada wings, concealed in this tree, secretly, O secretly, these sleeves are wet with my tears." -from Chapter 3, The Cicada Shell

3. "Genji, weeping once more, looked so perfectly beautiful that Koremitsu, too, was overcome and dissolved in tears. After all, in this crisis their need was for someone mature, someone with rich experience of the world. They were too young really to know what do do." -from Chapter 4, The Twilight Beauty

4. "For a time His Excellency struggled to master his feelings. 'At my great age anything may bring tears to my eyes, and so of course it is more than I can do to calm the feelings that never leave my sleeves dry." -from Chapter 9, Heart-to-Heart

5. "That unhappy day when he was taken from us has come round once more, but when shall we see again the man we once knew so well? Living on this way is a burden while it lasts, but to meet again this day among all others makes him seem present once more." -from Chapter 10, The Green Branch

6. "He faced mounting unpleasantness in a hostile world, and he knew that to ignore it might well provoke still worse." -from Chapter 12, Suma

7. "That casual gift you give to make me believe you will remain true I shall honor in my thoughts with a long music of tears." -from Chapter 13, Akashi

8. "The pleasure of old poems has to do with enjoying picking ones with appealing topics and authors, ones simple to understand. Trite ones everyone already knows, written on solemn utility paper or puffy Michinokuni, are a perfect bore, but these are what she spread before her on the rare occassions when she looked at any at all." -from Chapter 15, A Waste of Weeds

9. "Genji's paintings revealed with perfect immediacy, far more vividly than anything they had imagined during those years when they pitied and grieved for him, all that had passed through his mind, all that he had witnessed, and every detail of those shores that they themselves had never seen." -from Chapter 17, The Picture Contest

10. "How can she dismiss as a light and worthless blue these sleeves I must wear, dyed a far deeper color by the scarlet of my tears (note: the tears of blood shed, as convention had it, by someone in particularly intense grief)? I feel so ashamed! From my many woes I have, alas, learned to know the hues of sorrow: how did the robe between us come to be so deeply dyed (how did we become so attached to each other)?" -from Chapter 21, The Maidens

Tale of Genji, Manga Style
Chapters Read: 21
Pages Read: 412 (which goes into Chapter 22)

Links to the Latest Posts by Others in the Tale of Genji Read Along:
(if you are in the read along and I missed you, please let me know)

A Guy's Moleskine Notebook - Chapters 10-13
Ready When You Are, C.B. - Chapters 13-17
Farm Lane Books - Chapters 14-17
Fleur Fisher Reads - Chapters 10-13 (found this after I first posted! check it out!)


  1. I love the first quote. This books sounds very poetic. :)

  2. It is such a poetic book. I have to admit that I struggle to follow the plot with the Tyler translation though. I found I couldn't understand it without first reading a plot summary for each chapter in advance. Do you read a study guide as you go along?

  3. Interesting quotes. It was good of you to provide them because it shows what the book is like much more than merely a summary could do!

  4. I enjoyed reading the quotes that spoke to you. I'm in awe of those that can read this novel!!

  5. I've always been curious about this book and it sounds gorgeous! Thanks for posting those quotes; I may have to snatch this book up soon!

  6. That was me, under my other login ;)

  7. I've been wanting to read this book, but have been daunted by its size. I'm enjoying seeing it through your quotes. I keep thinking, if I get a good chunk of time, I'll tackle this one!


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