John Nathan is Takashima Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author or translator of nine books, including a biography of Yukio Mishima and the novels of Kenzaburo Oe. He is currently at work on the first full-length biography of Sōseki ­Natsume in English.
 (January 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

Who Can Put Across Genji?

‘Lady Fugitsubo watching Prince Genji departing in the moonlight’; Japanese woodblock print of a scene from The Tale of Genji, 1853

The Tale of Genji

by Murasaki Shikibu, translated from the Japanese by Dennis Washburn
The Tale of Genji, scenes from the emperor’s court in eleventh-century Japan organized around the amorous adventures of its hero, Prince Genji, goes deeper than any romance. The main characters, the radiant prince in particular and a number of the women he beguiles, are endowed with a range of emotions …