The daughter of a provincial governor, Murasaki Shikibu (978-1030), known as Lady Murasaki, was the most famous writer of early Japanese literature. Her book, The Tale of Genji (1000) was the world's first great novel and considered by many to be Japan's greatest work of fiction.
"Foolish are they indeed who trust to fortune!" she said. "A night of endless dreams, inconsequent and wild, is this my life; none more worth telling than the rest."
The 11th-century masterpiece of the Heian period celebrated the romantic tales of Prince Genji, the "Shining Prince," and was written for oral presentation in court. "Princes are the lamps that alight this world," she wrote in Chapter 9.
The novel, which is twice as long as War and Peace, featured over 400 characters presented in 54 chapters, or episodes, made up of 795 lyrical poems of 31-syllables. Murasaki's full English translation was over 1,000 pages long.
"There is more here than meets the eye," she observed. In addition to The Tale of Genji, she further characterized her contemporaries in poetry and a witty journal.
Murasaki observed, "Indeed, she had seen enough of the world to know that in few people is discretion stronger than the desire to tell a good story."
There is magic in your passionate heart.