Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forApril 24th, 2004 | back to home

24 April 2004

In the spirit of Phil Gyford’s rendition of “Pepys Diary”:http://blog.org/archives/000604.html there are several other weblog-ified classic literary diaries that have started up. The classic Victorian diary spoof “Diary of a Nobody”:http://www.diaryofanobody.net/ is quite entertaining.

It is “Simon Cozens”:http://simon-cozens.org/’ (rather free) English translation of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon Pillow Talk, however, that is to my mind the most successful adaptation yet. Why? Because in his rendition it seems exactly like the blog of a contemporary teenage girl, yet the reflections (of a woman in the court of the Japanese Emperor) are a thousand years old. Rarely does history seem to speak to us so directly.

Of course “some people”:http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/32554 think in making its relevance apparent Simon is barbarously mangling the poetry of the original text. Well, there’s nothing to prevent people who find it interesting from taking a look at the extracts translated by others that are “available online”:http://home.infionline.net/~ddisse/shonagon.html, buying the ‘canonical’ paperback translation by Ivan Morris (Amazon UK) (Amazon US) or even the reading it “in the original”:http://www.wao.or.jp/naniuji/koten/makurano.htm. Besides, his is the most complete translation available online for free (that I am aware of).