The Pillow Book

Sei Shonagon


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Penguin Books Ltd
30 November 2006
ISBN: 9780140448061
400 pages

From the publisher

'A mistress of wry observation and scalding wit ... The Pillow Book retains its fresh, authentic appeal more than 1,000 years after its inception' Japan Times

Written by the court gentlewoman Sei Shonagon as a journal for her own amusement, The Pillow Book is one of the greatest works of Japanese literature. A fascinating exploration of life amongst the nobility at the height of the idyllic Heian period, it describes the exquisite pleasures of a confined world in which poetry, love, fashion and whim dominated. From brief reflections to longer, lyrical tales, Shonagon moves elegantly across themes including nature, society and her own flirtations and frustrations, to provide a witty, unique insight into a woman's life at court in classical Japan.

Translated with an introduction by Meredith McKinney