Edward George Seidensticker writes in his introduction to the vintage edition of The Tale of Genji,

When romancers of the tenth century attempt characterization, and it is of a rudimental sort, they write fairy stories, and when they write of such matters as court intrigues, the characterization is so flat that it can hardly be called characterization at all. The diaries of the tenth century may perhaps have been something of an inspiration for Murasaki Shikibu, but the awareness that an imagined predicament can be made more real than a real one required a great leap of the imagination, and Murasaki Shikibu made it herself.

Seidensticker was a renowned intellectual, historian, and superlative translator of classical and contemporary Japanese literature.

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