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Murasaki Shikibu Biography | Author of The Tale of Genji

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Murasaki Shikibu wrote the long novel The Tale of Genji, a diary, a collection of short lyric poems, and assorted poems found only in royally commissioned anthologies.

Very little is known for certain about her life. Much of her biography is gleaned from Murasaki Shikibu Diary and a set of autobiographical poems she left behind. She may have been born as early as 973, but possibly as many as five years later. She died some time between 1013 and 1031. Accepted wisdom has it that Murasaki Shikibu died around her fortieth year.

Murasaki Shikibu was born in the Japanese capital of Kyoto. Her father, Fujiwara Tametoki, was a member of a minor branch of the nation's most powerful family. Heian Japanese custom deemed it bad manners to record the names of well-born ladies. Shikibu refers to her father's post in the Board of Rites. Murasaki, which literally means "violet," probably refers...

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This section contains 556 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Tale of Genji Study Guide
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The Tale of Genji from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.