Literature Study GuidesThe Tale Of Genji

The Tale of Genji | Study Guide

Murasaki Shikibu

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Course Hero. "The Tale of Genji Study Guide." Course Hero. 2 Mar. 2021. Web. 13 Apr. 2021. <>.

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(Course Hero, 2021)



Course Hero. "The Tale of Genji Study Guide." March 2, 2021. Accessed April 13, 2021.


Course Hero, "The Tale of Genji Study Guide," March 2, 2021, accessed April 13, 2021,



Murasaki Shikibu

Year Published

c. 1020




Drama, Fiction

Perspective and Narrator

The Tale of Genji is told by an omniscient, third-person narrator who occasionally interjects in first person. The dialogue often includes Waka poetic verse which is utilized to enhance character and plot development.


The Tale of Genji is written mainly in the present tense. The period before Genji's birth is presented in past tense.

About the Title

The Tale of Genji describes life at court during the Heian Period in Japan (794–1185) and centers around Genji who is an extremely talented and handsome aristocrat. The Tale of Genji was written in the 11th century and is widely believed to be the first novel ever written.


This study guide for Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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