Episode 7: The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon

Introduction

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In the seventh episode of Literary Canon Ball, we discuss Sei Shōnagon's The Pillow Book. 

Sei Shonagon completed The Pillow Book in the year 1002. Written during the late 990s and early 1000’s when Shonagon was a lady in the court of Empress Consort Teishi, The Pillow Book is a genre-bending collection of short narratives, thoughts and opinions and lists covering such topics as royal and religious ceremonies, nature and poetry.

First translated into English in 1889, The Pillow Book is a significant work of literature, both because of its depiction of Japanese court life but also because of Sei Shonagon herself, a fascinating woman with a remarkably vivid voice.

Hit play to listen to our discussion.