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Unformatted text preview: ng in his house, he evidently felt he could do as he pleased. Waking up the young woman next to
me I exclaimed, “Look who is here! What an unlikely sight!” They all sat up
and, seeing Narimasa by the door, burst into laughter. “Who are you?” I said.
“Don’t try to hide!” “Oh no,” he replied. “It’s simply that the master of the
house has something to discuss with the lady-in-waiting in charge.”
“It was your gate I was speaking about,” I said. “I don’t remember asking
you to open the sliding-door.”
“Yes indeed,” he answered. “It is precisely the matter of the gate that I
wanted to discuss with you. May I not presume to come in for a moment?”
“Really!” said one of the young women. “How unpleasant! No, he certainly cannot come in.”
“Oh, I see,” said Narimasa. “There are other young ladies in the room.”
Closing the door behind him, he left, followed by our loud laughter.15 The Court at Its Zenith 67 The Pillow Book is the earliest example of still another type of literature—the miscellany or “running brush” (zuihitsu)—that has enjoyed
much popularity in Japanese history. Along with the diary and the poemtale, the miscellany, like horizontal picture scrolls and linked verse, reflects the Japanese preference for the episodic and loosely joined, rather
than the long and unified, artistic form. The Tale of Genji, as a great, sustained work, was exceptional. In literature the Japanese have concentrated
on polishing short passages, phrases, words, and even syllables—no better
proof of this exists than their consuming love for the waka—and have
been little inclined to think in ter ms of plot development or the carefully
constructed narrative line.
Although written in fifty-four chapters, The Tale of Genji is actually
divided into two major parts. The first centers on the life and loves of
Genji, and the second deals with the generation at court after Genji’s
death. The Genji chapters, despite their prevailing mood of sadness and
melancholy, portray a truly ideal society, a society whose members little
doubted that theirs w...
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- Spring '13