We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
title

Worlding Sei Shônagon

The Pillow Book in Translation

Valerie Henitiuk

Publication Year: 2012

The Makura no Sôshi, or The Pillow Book as it is generally known in English, is a collection of personal reflections and anecdotes about life in the Japanese royal court composed around the turn of the eleventh century by a woman known as Sei Shônagon. Its opening section, which begins haru wa akebono, or “spring, dawn,” is arguably the single most famous passage in Japanese literature.

Throughout its long life, The Pillow Book has been translated countless times. It has captured the European imagination with its lyrical style, compelling images and the striking personal voice of its author. Worlding Sei Shônagon guides the reader through the remarkable translation history of The Pillow Book in the West, gathering almost fifty translations of the “spring, dawn” passage, which span one-hundred-and-thirty-five years and sixteen languages. Many of the translations are made readily available for the first time in this study.

The versions collected in Worlding Sei Shônagon are an enlightening example of the many ways in which translations can differ from their source text, undermining the idea of translation as the straightforward transfer of meaning from one language to another, one culture to another. By tracing the often convoluted trajectory through which a once wholly foreign literary work becomes domesticated—or resists domestication—this compilation also exposes the various historical, ideological or other forces that inevitably shape our experience of literature, for better or for worse.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (51.9 KB)
 

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (125.1 KB)
 

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF (84.2 KB)
pp. i-vi

One of the distinct charms of Sei Shônagon’s Makura no Sôshi (generally rendered into English as The Pillow Book) is the striking series of leaps from one apparently random image, anecdote or list to another, which draw readers ever more deeply into a unique and uniquely engrossing...

read more

Acknowledgements

pdf iconDownload PDF (76.1 KB)
pp. vii-ix

Many friends and colleagues have offered valuable feedback and suggestions throughout the time I have worked on this book, such that it is impossible to thank everyone by name. I do need—and very much want—however, specifically to acknowledge David Damrosch, for whose invaluable...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (439.4 KB)
pp. 1-45

In 1889, one of the very first scholarly articles ever written in English on the subject provided a highly laudatory, albeit significantly orientalizing, depiction of what Western readers would discover in an encounter with Classical Japanese...

Sei Shônagon Classical Japanese

pdf iconDownload PDF (221.2 KB)
pp. 47-49

read more

The First Generation of Western Translators

This first handful of translators, working into German, French and English, were among the intrepid early explorers of Japanese literature. Mostly self-taught, they accomplished a tremendous amount with very limited resources and are to...

read more

August Pfizmaier (1875) German

pdf iconDownload PDF (227.6 KB)
pp. 53-57

An autodidact whose innkeeper father had originally intended to train as a cook, Pfizmaier (1808–1887) enjoyed a long and productive career at the Imperial University in Vienna. He lectured on and translated, inter alia, Turkish, Chinese and Japanese—his output related to China’s...

read more

T. A. Purcell and W. G. Aston (1889) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.8 KB)
pp. 59-61

Theobald Andrew Purcell (1841–1877) served as Surgeon- Major for the British in Japan ca. 1870. In 1874, he published Our Neighbourhood, or Sketches in the Suburbs of Yedo, which described Japanese daily life (the various chapters, illustrated with engravings, deal with such...

read more

Koumé Kéitchirau (1892) French

pdf iconDownload PDF (239.0 KB)
pp. 63-66

Koumé Kéitchirau (1866–1934) (his name is today more commonly romanized as Kume Keiichiro), was a Japanese painter and eventually professor at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and director of the Imperial Art Academy. He studied with Raphael Collin (a prominent...

read more

W. G. Aston (1899) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (72.1 KB)
pp. 67-68

In his monograph, Aston revises and expands the material that can be found in the earlier paper co-authored with Purcell, increasing the number of passages he translates from six to eleven. He now characterizes the work as Sei Shônagon’s...

read more

Henry-D. Davray (1902) French

pdf iconDownload PDF (76.5 KB)
pp. 69-72

Because the first history of Japanese literature originally written in French would not appear until 1935 (co-authored by Kuni Matsuo et al.), this 1902 version of Aston’s English-language work represented a significant publication. The first to publish a review of...

read more

Karl Florenz (1906) German

pdf iconDownload PDF (76.6 KB)
pp. 73-76

Karl Florenz (1865–1939) is a major figure in Japanology, widely regarded as the father of the field in Germany. He taught German at Tokyo’s Imperial University, and his Geschichte der japanischen Litteratur (History of Japanese Literature) would serve as the standard reference work...

read more

Takéshi Ishikawa (1909) French

pdf iconDownload PDF (78.3 KB)
pp. 77-80

Ishikawa (1883–1951) obtained a doctorate from the Sorbonne for his thesis on the zuihitsu genre, providing explanation, analysis and partial translation of Kenkô’s Tsurezuregusa and Kamo no Chômei’s Hojôki, as well as The Pillow Book. Invited to speak about Sei Shônagon before the...

read more

Michel Revon (1910) French

pdf iconDownload PDF (94.7 KB)
pp. 81-85

This anthology of Japanese literature by Michel Revon (1878–1946) was to remain a seminal work for generations, influencing scores of French writers and intellectuals from Edmond de Goncourt to Marguerite Yourcenar. Revon taught in Tokyo for many years, and later at the...

read more

Paul Adler (1926) German

pdf iconDownload PDF (96.7 KB)
pp. 87-89

This version of Revon’s anthology, by the Czech-born Paul Adler (1878–1946), which includes approximately three dozen passages from The Pillow Book, enjoyed wide circulation. Adler not only translated the entire book, but also revised it significantly. He replaced the latter’s...

read more

Second Generation

This next generation includes those taught by the first (e.g. André Beaujard was Michel Revon’s student), as is only to be expected, but also several autodidacts. Some work from already translated sources, but many do translate directly...

read more

Kuni Matsuo and Steinilber-Oberlin (1928) French

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.5 KB)
pp. 93-96

Kuninosuke Matsuo (1899–1975) and Émile Steinilber- Oberlin (b. 1878) jointly produced numerous works on Japanese literature and culture. Matsuo, who held degrees from both the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (School of French Studies) and the Université de Paris, was...

read more

Arthur Waley (1928) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (95.0 KB)
pp. 97-99

Arthur David Waley (1889–1966), né Schloss, is generally considered the West’s single most influential translator of Classical Chinese and Japanese. Within Japan as well, where many native writers once claimed to have first learned to appreciate The Tale of Genji via his English...

read more

Nobuko Kobayashi (1930) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.6 KB)
pp. 101-103

This translation would appear to be the only published work of Nobuko Kobayashi (dates unknown). It is an abridged version, containing just over fifty passages, although the claim is made in the introduction that Kobayashi has indeed translated the entire text...

read more

André Beaujard (1934) French

pdf iconDownload PDF (100.0 KB)
pp. 105-110

Beaujard (dates unknown) received a doctorate from the Sorbonne in 1934 for his research on Sei Shônagon, supervised by Michel Revon. The thesis comprises two volumes: one the complete and annotated translation cited above, and...

read more

E. M. Kolpakchi (1935) Russian

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.2 KB)
pp. 111-114

Evgeniia Maksimovna Kolpakchi (1902–1952) belonged to the academic circle within Russia that between the wars aimed to produce translations directly from the Japanese rather than through an intermediary language. This important anthology contains...

read more

Helmut Bode (1944) German

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.9 KB)
pp. 115-118

Helmut Bode (1910–1988) translated numerous Japanese works into German. His version of Sei Shônagon’s text is an abridged one, and this particular passage appears about two-thirds of the way through it. (In what would appear to be a simple oversight or printing...

read more

Gerhart Haug (1948) German

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.4 KB)
pp. 119-122

This volume contains just over forty passages, with haru wa akebono appearing second (immediately after Sei Shônagon’s description of the genesis of her text). Interspersed among the passages are numerous reproductions of Japanese woodcuts by Utamaro, Hokusai and...

read more

Mamoru Watanabe (1952) German

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.3 KB)
pp. 123-126

Watanabe, primarily known as a musicologist, had a long and extremely illustrious career. He graduated from Tokyo University’s School of Aesthetics in 1938 and from Vienna University in 1942. After teaching at both the Musashino...

read more

Zhou Zuoren (1958) Chinese

pdf iconDownload PDF (237.8 KB)
pp. 127-130

Zhou Zuoren (1885–1967) was an important mainland Chinese essayist, political figure and translator, not to mention the younger brother of renowned modernist Lu Xun. They both travelled to Japan in 1906, where Zhou Zuoren studied Japanese language and literature. In...

read more

Ryôzô Matsumoto (1961) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.0 KB)
pp. 131-133

This translation, by a native speaker of Japanese, appears in a small anthology designed to “convey historically and comprehensively the ideo-psychological trend of Japanese literature,” as the blurb on the inside front flap of the dust...

read more

Unity Evans (1965) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.6 KB)
pp. 135-137

The original version of this book, La Littérature japonaise, appeared in France’s well-known Que sais-je? reference series in 1956. Roger Bersihand quotes Beaujard’s translation, retaining the square brackets but making considerable...

read more

André Beaujard (1966) French

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.0 KB)
pp. 139-141

In his introduction, Beaujard comments briefly on the differences between this edition and that of three decades earlier: “First, in order to facilitate reading, I have done away with the brackets that I had used, in a work primarily...

read more

Third Generation

By the 1960s, thanks to the efforts of the earlier generations, Japan and her literary traditions had become much more familiar to the West. Tourists and business people were now visiting the country, and more and more students were taking...

read more

Ivan Morris (1967) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.1 KB)
pp. 145-147

Morris (1925–1978) was a highly esteemed scholar and translator of Classical Japanese. His is the first English translation to render the full text, supplemented with a hefty second volume of scholarly notes, although it has circulated...

read more

Lydia Origlia (1968) Italian

pdf iconDownload PDF (93.7 KB)
pp. 149-153

Lydia Origlia (dates unknown) is a prolific translator of primarily modern Japanese, known especially for her renditions of Mishima, Kawabata and Akutagawa. This translation of The Pillow Book is complete and was published not long after that by Ivan Morris...

read more

Kazuya Sakai (1969) Spanish

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.1 KB)
pp. 155-158

Sakai (1927–2001) was born in Buenos Aires of Japanese parents. Educated in Japan from the age of seven, he obtained a degree in Literature and Philosophy from Waseda University before returning to teach Oriental Philosophy at...

read more

Marcello Muccioli (1969) Italian

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.6 KB)
pp. 159-161

Muccioli (1898–1976) was a professor of Japanese language and literature at the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples and at the University of Rome. He translated the Hôjôki in 1930, wrote a volume on Shintoism in 1948, and contributed extensively to an...

read more

Nelly and Wolfram Naumann (1973) German

pdf iconDownload PDF (77.0 KB)
pp. 163-166

Nelly Naumann (1922–2000) enjoyed an illustrious academic career in the field of early history and folklore. After completing her doctorate at the University of Vienna, where she studied Japanology, Sinology and Ethnology, she spent...

read more

Stanca Cionca (1973) Romanian

pdf iconDownload PDF (89.0 KB)
pp. 167-169

Cionca, who now goes by Scholz-Cionca (birthdate unknown), is a highly respected Japanologist who has taught at various institutions in Germany and in Norway. She is currently Chair of Japanese Studies at the University of Trier...

read more

Vera Markova (1975) Russian

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.3 KB)
pp. 171-174

Markova (1907–1995) was an important Russian translator, whose complete version of The Pillow Book, originally published in 1975, was reprinted in the 1980s and 1990s. UNESCO’s Index Translationum lists a Georgian translation...

read more

Miroslav Novák (1984) Czech

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.9 KB)
pp. 175-177

This Czech translation is found in an attractive volume devoted to the three major examples of the Japanese zuihitsu: Notes made in moments of leisure: Old Japanese literary notebooks of Madam Sei Shonagon, Kamo no Chómei, Joshida Kenko (for a brief discussion of this...

read more

Tzvetana Kristeva (1985) Bulgarian

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.1 KB)
pp. 179-182

Kristeva (b. 1954) is a Bulgarian scholar of classical Japanese literature and the semiotics of culture, with an MA from the University of Moscow and PhDs from both the University of Sofia and Tokyo University. In addition to several...

read more

Paul Heijman (1987) Dutch

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.4 KB)
pp. 183-185

This Dutch translation of Sei Shônagon is based on the abridged translation published by Ivan Morris, although Heijman’s introduction states that he also referred to Morris’s complete version as well as to Beaujard’s (in an edition...

read more

Anita Kontrec (1987) Croatian

pdf iconDownload PDF (98.3 KB)
pp. 187-190

This Croatian translation by Kontrec (b. 1954), edited by Nikica Petrak, is based on Ivan Morris’s abridged version. An afterword prepared by Vladimir Devidé references Aston, Florenz, René Sieffert (a major French Japanologist and...

read more

Lin Wenyue (1989) Chinese

pdf iconDownload PDF (238.3 KB)
pp. 191-194

In a 1982 article about her experience as a translator, Lin writes as follows: “Generally speaking, the fundamental difference between Japanese and Chinese is that the former expresses feelings and emotions in a circumlocutory way...

read more

Charlotte Rohde and Lone Takeuchi (1989) Danish

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.9 KB)
pp. 195-198

Charlotte Rohde (b. 1951) and Lone Takeuchi (b. 1947) are both natives of Copenhagen. Rohde graduated from Copenhagen University in 1979, and is a librarian at the Danish Royal Library. Takeuchi earned her PhD in Classical Japanese in 1987 from...

read more

Helen Craig McCullough (1990) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.8 KB)
pp. 199-201

A renowned American scholar of Classical Japanese, McCullough (1918–1998) was the author of numerous important books and articles, and translated Kokinshû, as well as selections from The Tale of Genji, Tale of Flowering Fortunes and...

read more

Javier Sologuren (1993) Spanish

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.6 KB)
pp. 203-206

For this important anthology of both premodern and modern Japanese literature (a second edition was published in 2001), Sologuren was himself responsible for most of the translations, working from a French version or, occasionally, in...

read more

Fourth Generation

This most recent generation has witnessed increasing global receptiveness toward Japan and its culture, as well as a broader range of media by which it is commonly accessed. While of course physical books continue to be published (with volumes in new languages...

read more

Mark Jewel (ca. 1998) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (74.2 KB)
pp. 209-210

Jewel, who earned his PhD in Japanese from Stanford in 1985, joined the School of Political Science and Economics of Tokyo’s Waseda University in 1987. He is now Associate Dean for International Education, and teaches English and...

read more

David Greer (2000) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (78.3 KB)
pp. 211-214

David Greer (b. 1952) was raised in Pennsylvania, but has lived in Japan since 1982. He is currently Associate Professor of English at Tosa Women’s Junior College in Kochi City, Shikoku, and has published a number of articles in the Kyoto Journal and has also written...

read more

Mercè Comes (2000) Spanish

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.1 KB)
pp. 215-218

This passage appears in Comes’s recent translation of Michel Revon’s seminal anthology—done some ninety-five years after that work first appeared in French. The Spanish book proved popular enough to be reprinted in 2001. Comes...

read more

Amalia Sato (2001) Spanish

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.8 KB)
pp. 219-222

Sato (b. 1952) is an Argentinian “sansei”, or grandchild of a Japanese immigrant, and a professor at the University of Buenos Aires. She is also editor of the journal Tokonoma, Traducción y literature (Tokonoma, Translation and Literature; a...

read more

Iván Augusto Pinto Román, Oswaldo Gavidia Cannon, and Hiroko Izumi Shimono (2002) Spanish

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.4 KB)
pp. 223-226

Peruvian scholars Pinto Román (b. 1950) and Gavidia Cannon (b. 1963) collaborated with Izumi Shimono (b. 1964), a Japanese literature specialist then resident in Lima, to translate the entire Pillow Book. (They later went on to translate jointly the...

read more

Kenneth L. Richard (ca. 2003) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (234.4 KB)
pp. 227-228

The website created by Kenneth L. Richard (b. 1940), associate professor (now retired) with the Siebold University of Nagasaki, comprises some brief introductory information on Sei Shônagon, with links to other resources, and translations of seven...

read more

Simon Cozens (ca. 2003) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.6 KB)
pp. 229-231

Cozens (b. 1978), a computer programmer and preacher— he moved to Japan in 2007 to work as a missionary—with additional interests in music and photography, created this now archived webpage for what he describes as “a new translation of...

read more

Jorge Luis Borges and María Kodama (2004) Spanish

pdf iconDownload PDF (91.7 KB)
pp. 233-236

Borges (1899–1986), the famed Argentinian writer, enjoyed a lifelong interest in both literary translation and Japan. He is said to have translated Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince” at the age of nine, for example, and in the 1930s, he reviewed...

read more

Tuncay Birkan (2006) Turkish

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.7 KB)
pp. 237-240

This first Turkish translation, funded by the Japan Foundation’s Support for Translation programe, acknowledges earlier versions by Morris, Beaujard and Watanabe, as well as two Japanese editions. Birkan, born in Istanbul in 1968, graduated from...

read more

Meredith McKinney (2006) English

pdf iconDownload PDF (76.6 KB)
pp. 241-243

McKinney (b. 1950), a freelance writer and literary translator of both modern and classical Japanese, taught English at the Kobe University of Foreign Studies for two decades, but now lives in her native Australia, where she is a visiting fellow and lecturer at...

read more

Valerio Alberizzi (2006) Italian

pdf iconDownload PDF (75.9 KB)
pp. 245-247

Alberizzi (b. 1973) received his doctorate in Japanese Linguistics from the University of Foscari in Venice and was a lecturer in Japanese in the department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Bologna from...

read more

Xavier Roca-Ferrer (2007) Catalan

pdf iconDownload PDF (77.9 KB)
pp. 249-251

Roca-Ferrer (b. 1949) has a PhD in Classical Philology. He has translated many classics from Latin, German and English into Spanish and/or Catalan, and his Spanish version of The Tale of Genji appeared in 2005. According to the foreword, this version of...

read more

Jos Vos (2008) Dutch

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.5 KB)
pp. 253-256

Some forty excerpts from The Pillow Book (identified as dating from the late tenth to early eleventh century) appear in this anthology of Classical Japanese literature, which itself numbers almost eight hundred pages and is titled...

Appendix I: Romanization of original and Romanization with English gloss

pdf iconDownload PDF (80.3 KB)
pp. 257-260

Appendix II: A selection of book covers from the translations

pdf iconDownload PDF (854.8 KB)
pp. 261-272

Appendix III: A selection of modern Japanese versions

pdf iconDownload PDF (590.4 KB)
pp. 273-292

Bibliographies

pdf iconDownload PDF (321.5 KB)
pp. 293-312


E-ISBN-13: 9780776619798
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776607283

Page Count: 330
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Perspectives on Translation