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 Online Intensive - The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu 

Agora Foundation Online Intensive -
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

Wednesday Evenings - September 4 to December 18, 2024
5:30-7:00PM Pacific


Roxana Zirakzadeh 


Andy Gilman

Sessions will be facilitated by Roxana Zirakzadeh and Andy Gilman.


A life lived without passion is merely existence wrapped in monotony.

Written in the early 11th century by the noblewoman, poet, and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikoku, The Tale of Genji is considered the first classic novel and a masterpiece in Japanese literature.


Much of the tale follows the life of the handsome and sensitive Genji - the son of the Emperor and a low-ranking concubine - with each of his loves described in great detail. Against the backdrop of the central story, the reader is delighted with images of refined court life, the beauty of nature and a wide array of human emotions. The Buddhist understanding of impermanence is also skillfully woven throughout the story in beautiful images. 


During this time in Japan, Chinese was the court’s scholarly language while Japanese was initially used by women and in personal accounts of life at court. Works written in Japanese and in prose were not taken seriously. All that changed with the creation The Tale of Genji. Jorge Luis Borges is among the modern authors who have cited it as inspiration. He said of it, "The Tale of Genji is written with an almost miraculous naturalness, and what interests us is not the exoticism—the horrible word—but rather the human passions of the novel. Such interest is just: Murasaki's work is what one would quite precisely call a psychological novel ..."[41] The novelist Yasunari Kawabata said in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: "The Tale of Genji in particular is the highest pinnacle of Japanese literature. Even down to our day there has not been a piece of fiction to compare with it."


Online seminars in this series will take place on Wednesday evenings, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific Time. Attendees will be mailed the text. Sessions will be facilitated by Roxana Zirakzadeh and Andy Gilman. Groups will be limited to 16 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 3 CEU credits for participating. This sixteen-week series is $950. Community of Lifelong Learner subscribers receive a discount of $100 through a refund. Payment options are available. 


Make one $950 payment.  (subscribers receive a $100 refund)

Make three monthly payments
of $317 (subscribers receive a
$100 refund)


The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
September 4 to December 18, 2024 - 5:30-7:00PM Pacific


The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

Translated by Edward G. Seidensticker

Everyman's Library; (January 1993) - ISBN 978-0679417385

Dates and Curriculum - The Tale of Genji Online Intensive

1) Session One
Wednesday, September 4

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 1-4


2) Session Two 
Wednesday, September 11

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 5-6


3) Session Three
Wednesday, September 18

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 7-10

4) Session Four
Wednesday, September 25

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 11-13


5) Session Five
Wednesday, October 2

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 14-19

6) Session Six
Wednesday, October 9

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 20-22

7) Session Seven
Wednesday, October 16

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 23-29

8) Session Eight
Wednesday, October 23

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 30-33

9) Session Nine
Wednesday, October 30

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 34-35


10) Session Ten
Wednesday, November 6

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapters 36-38

11) Session Eleven
Wednesday, November 13

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapters 39-43

12) Session Twelve
Wednesday, November 20

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapters 44-46


13) Session Thirteen
Wednesday, November 27

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapters 47-48

14) Session Fourteen
Wednesday, December 4

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapters 49-50

15) Session Fifteen
Wednesday, December 11

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapters 51-52

16) Session Sixteen
Wednesday, December 18

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapters 53-54

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