Vol. 11 (2022)
Condizioni di Possibilità

La passione senile di una dama di Corte. Gen no Naishinosuke nel Genji Monogatari

Ikuko Sagiyama
Universitàdegli Studi di Firenze
Published December 23, 2022
Keywords
  • The Tale of Genji, Gen no Naishinosuke, amorous aged woman

Abstract

Gen no Naishinosuke is a peculiar character in The Tale of Genji. She is an elderly Court lady, amorous despite her advanced age, with whom the protagonist Genji, still young, has intimate relations. Despite appearing briefly in only three chapters, this character stands out for her eccentricity that goes beyond the aesthetic and behavioural canons of aristocratic women of the period. This study, after a brief summary of previous studies and other similar characters in pre-Genji works, reexamines the figure of Gen no Naishinosuke. Her characterization presents an ambivalence that is reflected in the complex reactions of the novel’s protagonist Genji. The three episodes centered on her, moreover, are framed in as many phases that mark the growth of the protagonist, from exuberant youth to reflective maturity. Although she is a secondary character, the eccentric Gen no Naishinosuke also helps delineate one of the novel’s themes, which is the inexorable passage of time.

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