Pillow Book (Makura no Soushi)

‘Makura no Soushi’ or ‘The Pillow Book’ is a book written by Sei Shounagon in the year 1002 while she was serving the empress consort Teishi. The book comprised of poems, essays anecdotes and her personal thoughts and experiences while working in the court during the Heian period. The passages she wrote had very miniscule relation with one another, they were basically her ideas and the experiences she had in her daily life. It consisted all her personal thoughts her opinions on her fellows, poetry and all the interesting things that happened in the court. Although what she wrote were just her personal experiences and her feelings, the book turned out to be an important piece of literature of the Heian era. The book ‘The Pillow Book’ was originally meant for her eyes only, it was accidently revealed in the court. She wrote the book for her own amusement and enjoyment for herself, it was like her personal diary wherein she wrote her thoughts and feelings, a place where she could express her thoughts and emotions that she could not share with anyone, or the things she couldn’t say out loud in the open due her lower status in the court.

The work that was meant for her eyes only and not for an audience was revealed by accident is now one of the national gems for the nation, a great piece of literature.

In ‘The Pillow Book’ the author Sei Shounagan also wrote how she had to turn the courtier away due to his lack of writing skills.

The Pillow Book’s genre is called ‘Zuihitsu’; this genre writing consists of one’s personal essays and ideas and not tales or lore’s, therefore, The Pillow Book comprises of three different types of writings: the events that she experienced while her time in the court, her thoughts on various subjects going on in the court or in general regarding any issue, and the things that made her upset happy; she wrote all her emotions in one book.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pillow_Book


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