As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh Century JapanPaperback Classics S
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- Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
- Format: Paperback | 176 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 193mm x 13mm | 45g
- Publication date: 5 December 1989
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0140442820
- ISBN 13: 9780140442823
- Edition statement: Revised ed.
- Illustrations note: illustrations, maps, index
- Sales rank: 280,056
"As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams" is a unique autobiography in which the anonymous writer known as Lady Sarashina intersperses personal reflections, anecdotes and lyrical poems with accounts of her travels and evocative descriptions of the Japanese countryside. Born in AD 1008, Lady Sarashina felt an acute sense of melancholy that led her to withdraw into the more congenial realm of the imagination - this deeply introspective work presents her vision of the world. While barely alluding to certain aspects of her life such as marriage, she illuminates her pilgrimages to temples and mystical dreams in exquisite prose, describing a profound emotional journey that can be read as a metaphor for life itself.
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Lady Sarashina (as she is commonly known), born in 1008, was a lady-in-waiting of Heian-period Japan. Her work stands out for its descriptions of her travels and pilgrimages and is unique in the literature of the period, as well as one of the first in the genre of travel writing.
Ivan Morris's wonderful translation of an autobiography- cum-travelogue with poems, and gives a vivid impression of the lady's shy, sensitive personality. Even allowing for the customary seclusion of Heian ladies, life seems to have passed her by somewhat. But then, she would rather describe the scenery than her marriage. In youth she seeks solace in novel-reading; in middle age she goes on pilgrimages. Frequently she recounts and interprets her dreams, then comments blithely that she ignored their warning or advice. You'll like her, if you're not expecting Camille Paglia. (Kirkus UK)