For everyone who answers the question “Got any summer plans?” by saying “I’m going to read what is widely considered the world’s first novel, a 1200-page Japanese court drama known as The Tale of Genji,” then congrats on being my kind of person.
Fact is, starting June 15 I’m reading this beast, and I’ve got a bunch of people from The Quarterly Conversation and Open Letters Monthly who will be joining me and blogging it every step of the way. We’re calling it The Summer of Genji, and we’re putting together a nice little website where anyone who wants to join in can follow our progress. (Hopefully the site will be ready to show off later this week.)
We’ll be using the Tyler translation, published as a Penguin Classic in 2002, and were going to do a very manageable 90 – 100 pages per week. So if you’re game, grab a copy by June 15 and get ready to be in Imperial Japan.