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Sei Shonagon

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It is a loose book, impressionistic, hardly coherent as a continuous narrative. It is full of descriptions of court life, and the retelling of court gossip and descriptions of fashionable shrines and how to get there by the most elegant means. It is a piece of writing replete with those typical Japanese wistful and melancholic evocations of ephemerality. It was written a thousand years ago almost exactly to the year the film was made, and it was written by a woman. To be literate a thousand years ago in the West was pretty uncommon; to be literate and a woman, very unlikely; to be literate, female, and quite brilliant, a well-nigh Western impossibility.
--
Peter Greenaway on The Pillow Book in "105 Years of Illustrated Text" in the Zoetrope All-Story, Vol. 5 No. 1.

 
Sei Shonagon

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