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The classic portrayal of court life in tenth-century Japan Written by the court gentlewoman Sei Shonagon, ostensibly for her own amusement, The Pillow Bookoffers 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.
Sei Shonagon (c. 966-û1017) was a gentlewoman in the court of Empress Teishi in what is now Kyoto, Japan. Meredith McKinney lived and taught in Japan for twenty years and now teaches in the Japan Centre at the Australian National University.