The Tale of Genji was the world’s first ever novel, which would be remarkable enough, but there’s so much more that distinguishes this extraordinary work; not least of which is the fact that it was penned by a woman. It’s an elusive work that has proved resilient to categorisation over its long life and the eleventh century plot is rich with emotional drama, courtly intrigue and aristocratic custom that remains as potent and relevant today as it was then.
Dennis Washburn, Professor at Dartmouth College (USA) has completed a new translation of the text that offers a fresh take on ‘The Tale of Genji’ for our age. He joins the University of Cambridge’s emeritus professor of Japanese studies, Richard Bowring, and translator Juliet Winters Carpenter, who will offer a view on the novel’s place in Japanese culture both past and present. Together they will explore the language and far-reaching legacy of Genji in Japan and the wider world.