The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

0140448063-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_

Read 02/05/2015-27/05/2015

Rating: 2.5 stars

A few people over the years, knowing my love for The Tale of Genji and Lady Murasaki Shikibu, have recommended Sei Shōnagon’s notes about court life, but when I finally came to read it I struggled with The Pillow Book. Every time I sat down to read, within 20 minutes I fell asleep. It slowed me down! Plus, just as I started reading it, I went on holiday for a fortnight and was too busy experiencing my own life to immerse myself in someone else’s life.

Also, Sei Shōnagon was a terrible snob! I enjoyed the passages describing events at court, conversations, and love affairs, but the lists of what is and isn’t good were exceedingly dull. Shōnagon’s attitude to those of lower rank grated on me. For me, she embodies all that is worst in the rich and vacuous. Perhaps something was lost in translation, but I didn’t see how she came to have a reputation as a wit. I preferred the Diary of Lady Murasaki for its observations on court life and for its intelligence.

Advertisements

One thought on “The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s