I’ve just discovered that the Edward G.Seidensticker translation of Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) is online. I don’t know what the deal is, since the book is still in print and less than thirty years old, but if you have a hankering to read a thousand-page classic online, here’s your chance, if you can finish it before it gets yanked. (And if you want the whole text on a single web page—well, you can have that too. The internet is large and generous.) And I found a nice page of Genji links originally compiled for a class.
So then it occurred to me that the original Japanese text must be online, and of course it is, doubtless in many places, and this is old hat to you Japanese experts out there, but it knocked me out to find this site, which not only has the original text and a modernized version but a romanized (romaji) one as well, and will display all three at once (in parallel frames) if you wish to compare them. And it turns out to be part of the Japanese Text Initiative. a collaboration of the University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center and the University of Pittsburgh East Asian Library to “make texts of classical Japanese literature available on the World Wide Web”; just take a look at all the texts they have from the premodern and modern periods. Amazing. I really should learn the language. But I can make use of the texts anyway, after a fashion, thanks to POPjisyo.
Anyway, I got started on all this because of a wonderful site that has photographs of all the places mentioned in the novel, a link I got from the equally wonderful Plep.
The first line in the original, modern, and transliterated versions:
Idure no ohom-toki ni ka, nyougo, kaui amata saburahi tamahi keru naka ni, ito yamgotonaki kiha ni ha ara nu ga, sugurete tokimeki tamahu ari keri.