The World of the Shining Prince by Ivan Morris
Court Life in Ancient Japan (Kodansha Globe)

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The World of the Shining Prince, Ivan Morris's widely acclaimed portrait of the ceremonious, inbred, melancholy world of ancient Japan, has been a standard in cultural studies for nearly thirty years. Using as a frame of reference The Tale of Genji and other major literary works from Japan's Heian period, Morris recreates an era when woman set the cultural tone. Focusing on the world of the emperor's court-the world so admired by Virginia Woolf and others-he describes the politics, society, religious life, and superstitions of the times, providing detailed portrayals of the daily life of courtiers, the cult of beauty they espoused, and the intricate relations between the men and women of this milieu.
 

About Ivan Morris

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IVAN MORRIS wrote widely on Japan's ancient culture and modern politics, and translated many works from classical and contemporary literature. His books include The Mobility of Failure and translations of Mishima's Temple of the Golden Pavilion and The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. He died in 1976.
 
Published January 1, 1964 by NY Knopf. 336 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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The novel's hero, Prince Genji, becomes also the mirror of what Ivan Morris discerns to be the era's guiding patrician principle, that of aesthetic values tempering and transcending the psychological and social ones.

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