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Sei Shonagon

The Pillow Book

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Written by Sei Shonagon
Translated by Meredith McKinney

A court lady from tenth-century Japan spills the tea in this classic portrayal of court life.

Format: Paperback
Pages: 400

Written by the court gentlewoman Sei Shonagon, ostensibly for her own amusement, The Pillow Book offers a fascinating exploration of life among the nobility at the height of the Heian period, describing the exquisite pleasures of a confined world in which poetry, love, fashion, and whim dominated, while harsh reality was kept firmly at a distance.

Moving elegantly across a wide range of themes including nature, society, and her own flirtations, Sei Shonagon provides a witty and intimate window on a woman's life at court in classical Japan.

Read if you: literally go to work for the office gossip.