Robert Oxnam :: It
was in the Heian period, when the Fujiwara court was at its height, that
the famous Tale of Genji was written.
Haruo Shirane :: The Tale of Genji is the world's
first novel, and it's written by a woman, Murasaki Shikibu, and she was a
lady-in-waiting at the imperial court.
She served Empress Shoshi, whose father was [Fujiwara no] Michinaga.
He was a regent, and the most powerful person of the time.
H. Paul Varley :: ... Fujiwara no Michinaga,
and he lived at the time of the writing of the Tale of Genji, and
in fact, even made a sexual advance upon the author or authoress of the Tale
of Genji, as she records in her diary.
Haruo Shirane :: And Michinaga scoured the
court to find the most talented women that he could find. And so she served
Empress Shoshi. There was another consort, Empress Teishi, and she had a
literary salon, and one of her ladies-in-waiting was Sei Shônagun,
the author of the Pillow Book. And so the Pillow Book and the Tale
of Genji, the two great masterpieces of this period, and they come from
competing literary groups within the same imperial court.