The Tale of the Heike

The Tale of the Heike

Translator:

Format
Ebook
Price
$34.99
 
Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101601099
  • 784 Pages
  • Viking
  • Adult

Overview

The Tale of the Heike is Japan’s great martial epic; a masterpiece of world literature and the progenitor of all samurai stories, now in a major and groundbreaking new translation by Royall Tyler, acclaimed translator of The Tale of Genji. First assembled from scattered oral poems in the early fourteenth century, The Tale of the Heike is Japan’s Iliad – a grand-scale depiction of the wars between the Heike and Genji clans. Legendary for its magnificent and vivid set battle scenes, it is also a work filled with intimate human dramas and emotions, contemplating Buddhist themes of suffering and separation, as well as universal insights into love, loss and loyalty. The narrative moves back and forth between the two great warring clans, between aristocratic society and street life, adults and children, great crowds and introspection. No Japanese work has had a greater impact on subsequent literature, theatre, music and films, or on Japan’s sense of its own past. Royall Tyler’s new translation is the first to capture the way The Tale of the Heike was originally performed. It re-creates the work in its full operatic form, with speech, poetry, blank verse and song that convey its character as an oral epic in a way not seen before, fully embracing the rich and vigorous language of the original texts. Beautifully illustrated with fifty-five woodcuts from the nineteenth-century artistic master, Katsushika Hokusai, and bolstered with maps, character guides, genealogies and rich annotation, this is a landmark edition. Royall Tyler taught Japanese language and literature for many years at the Australian National University. He has a B.A. from Harvard University and a PhD from Columbia University and has taught at Harvard, Stanford and the University of Wisconsin. His translation of The Tale of Genji was acclaimed by publications such as The New York Times Book Review.

Praise

“Spectacularly beautiful…This will be the English Heike for our time and for many decades to come.” — Times Literary Supplement

Praise for THE TALE OF GENJI

“Superbly written and genuinely engaging…one of those works that can be read and reread throughout one’s life.” — Liza Dalby, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“An enormous achievement.” — The New York Times Book Review

“A new translation that makes Genji accessible to contemporary readers is a landmark event. [Tyler’s translation has clearly been a labor of love. In his beautifully written translation he tries to get as close to the original as possible, immersing us in eleventh-century Japan. Mr. Tyler’s translation is richly embellished with footnotes that flag for us everything that Murasaki and her contemporaries would have taken for granted. All in all, Mr. Tyler’s translation is likely to be the definitive edition of The Tale of Genji for many years to come.” — The Wall Street Journal

The Tale of Genji set an insanely high standard for anything that came after it. This latest edition is reader friendly at every turn, with generous footnotes, character lists and lots of illustrations to show what robes looked like, or swords, or houses. You have to reach for comparisons to Tolstoy or Proust to convey just what a captivating experience this story can be." — Newsweek

“Tyler’s delicate ear for the language of the original helps breathe new life into the story of Genji.” — The New Yorker

“Though [Murasaki’s] setting was the royal Japanese court of one thousand years ago, her characters managed to draw the reader into their passion and terrors in an uncannily modern way. [Tyler’s translation is] beautifully readable…it sets a new standard. Not only is this new English edition the most scrupulously true to the original, it also is superbly written and genuinely engaging. We are blessed to have Tyler’s help in reading it.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Tyler has long shown himself to be one of the finest translators of Japanese in our era. In producing this new Genji translation, he has been able not only to draw upon his own skills as a writer, but also to build on the efforts and accomplishments of his predecessors…the Tyler version is by far the most helpful to the general reader.” — The Washington Post Book World

“[Tyler] has crafted an elegant translation that remarkably renders this eleventh-century tale in language so lively, vivid and transparent, one could easily believe that the book was written by some gifted postmodernist. Royall Tyler devoted space to explaining, through the introduction and footnotes, nuances of the time, helping help us place them into a modern context. This edition of The Tale of Genji is beautifully realized, both as  translation and as a seamless art object.” — The Cleveland Plain Dealer
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