While the Great Tradition has us believe that the novel was a white male invention and the likes of F.R. Leavis (1963) will point to Don Quixote (1615) or Robinson Crusoe (1719) as the first novel written, the candidate is more likely to be an 11th-century Japanese saga written by the female poet, Murasaki Shikibu. The Tale of Genji (1021) is a magnificent work whose chapters were written onto folded leaves of paper. It chronicles a dizzying array of hundreds of characters over generations. It was written for the entertainment of the court and offers a vicarious glimpse into the lives of courtiers at that time.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Rise of the Novel: It was A Dark and stormy night
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number