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Morris, Ivan I. (1951) The style of Murasaki Shikibu, with particular reference to literary influences. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The purpose of this study is to provide an analysis of Genji Monogatari based on certain principles outlined in Chapter 1. I have focussed my attention as much as possible on the style of Murasaki's novel, as opposed to its content, "message", or sociological significance. The style of a work cannot be thoroughly examined without reference both to the circumstances in which it was written and to the subject-matter. Parts of this study are accordingly concerned with such topics as Murasaki's life, the development of fiction in Japan prior to her time, and the historical and literary sources of her material. But it is in the presentation of material that Murasaki's originality and greatness manifest themselves, and in the subsequent chapters I stress what seem to be the outstanding qualities of her style: the use of psychological detail, the technique of construction, the use of imagery, and the handling of a central theme. As far as possible, I compare her writing on each point with that of predecessors in order to determine what is traditional and what original. I believe that I have identified certain significant and original elements of Murasaki's style, such as her use of anticipation and of sustained symbolic imagery, which appear to have been overlooked elsewhere. I have also made what I think is an original approach to certain subjects, such as the development of language within Genji, Murasaki's humorous style, her treatment of neurotic characters, and the connexion between her sustained imagery and principal theme. Parts of this study, such as those on Murasaki's literary and religious knowledge and on accidence in the language of Genji, may be of use to future students.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:07

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