Reading in Translation (Mini-Challenge)

I decided not to participate too much in the challenges as to concentrate on my reading, but I just happen upon my answer to this challenge so I figure I will post it.

    1. If you could read any book that’s been translated into English in its ORIGINAL language, what would it be?
    2. Include the original book’s cover if possible; if you want, also post the English cover for comparison.
    3. Optional imaginary bonus points: post a sentence from the book in its original language.

I love to read translated work because it is a wonderful window into another culture.  I enjoy reading historical fiction too, as it’s a peep into another time.  So you guess right if you think I like historical fiction set in another country.

The one book I want most to read in original language (that I can think of now) will be The Tales of Genji, or Genji Monogatari in Japanese. Written in the early 11th century, around the peak of the Heian period. It is sometimes called the world’s first novel.  The story is about the life in the royal court, about Genji, a super handsome son of the emperor.  However, as he was born to a lowly concubine, he was not a contender for the throne.  He leads a very romantic life, falling in love with many women.

More about the book is on wikipedia.

As it’s an old, poetic literature, I would imagine a lot is lost in translation.  If I can understand the original language, I imagine it will be a very beautiful read.

My first introduction to this book is the manga series by Yamato Waki.  Her artwork is simply breath-taking.

Liza Dalby is an American author who, for her PhD dissertation, lived in Japan and worked as a geisha in Japan.  She also wrote an interesting fiction The Tale of Murasaki, about the author of Genji. I enjoyed this novel a lot too.

There are lots of English translations of the book.

And naturally even more in Japanese.  As it’s written in an old languages they have some simplified versions of it too, written in a more comtemporary Japanese.

Also found this, an illustration book published in Taiwan.

Just like Shakespeare’s works, this classic has been made into movies and TV dramas numerous times.

Published in: on April 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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