A tale of flowering fortunes: annals of Japanese aristocratic life in the Heian period, 榮華物語
Eiga Monogatari (栄花物語) is a Japanese monogatari, or epic, which relates events in the life of courtier Fujiwara no Michinaga. It is believed to have been written by a number of authors, over the course of roughly a century, from 1028 to 1107.
It is notable for giving high credits to the Fujiwara family especially Michinaga.
The monogatari serves as a sequel to the Rikkokushi, and discusses the life and exploits of Michinaga and his family. The first part, thirty volumes detailing the period from the reign of Emperor Uda until Michinaga's death, is believed to have been written between 1028 and 1034 by Akazome Emon and/or Fujiwara no Tamenari. The second portion, ten volumes covering the reign of Emperor Horikawa, is generally attributed to Dewa no Ben who would have written between 1092 and 1107. The forty scrolls which comprise the text are written entirely in kana, and include many excerpts from diaries and notes of court ladies. Twenty-eight of these scrolls are devoted to Michinaga's governance, while the remaining twelve concern related topics, including other aspects of his life and the lives of his family.
The work was translated into English by William H. and Helen Craig McCullough in 1980.
A Tale of Flowering Fortunes (Eiga monogatari) Annals of Japanese Aristrocratic Life in the Heian Period Tr. William H. and Helen Craig McCullough 這兩位都有人類學和文史方面相關論文
可參考C. Levi-Strauss 的論文 "不同時空的對照" 收入 "遙遠的目光" 北京:中國人民大學 81-112
Stanford University Press, 1980; 2 Volumes ISBN: 0-8047-1039-2 This is a monumental work by two of the most celebrated specialists on Japan. The two volumes are not simply a translation, but a veritable mine of information about the Heian period in Japan. Along with copious footnotes, the McCulloughs provide extensive supplemental notes at the end of each volume, and these are a book in themselves. Eiga monogatari is the story of the Fujiwara clan at the peak of its power under Michinaga (966-1028), the greatest Regent of all. The translation includes the first 30 chapters, which are usually considered the essence of the work and excludes the "dry, immitative chronicle" that follows it. The story covers the years 887-1028. The authorship of this work is uncertain, but it is almost beyond doubt that the main author was a woman, who wrote the first 30 chapters sometime between 1030 and 1045. Traditionally, the authorship is ascribed to the poet Akazome Emon, who lived between 976 and 1041. It would be an understatement to say that the notes are scrupulous, sometimes even excessively so. By the middle of the book, I found myself occasionally glancing to the footnotes, just to verify that they refer to yet another mistake (chronological or factual) in the narrative. Since this does interrupt the flow, I found that it was best to just read ahead, letting the author construct a historically inaccurate but nevertheless fascinating reality. (There is an engaging account of the historicity of the tale in the Introduction.) The first several chapters are quite dry and consist mostly of repetitive chronicles of courtly events. The story picks up somewhere in the middle of Chapter 4 ("Unfinished Dreams") when the pestilence of 995 kills off just about every important member of the aristocracy, clearing the way for Michinaga's rise to power. The author's bias toward Michinaga is obvious: he is depicted as a man of faultless taste, impeccable manners, excellent breeding, superior brain, etc. etc. On the other hand, the most interesting passages in the first volume deal with the miserable fate of his main rival (at one point), the son of his brother Michitaka, Korechika (973-1010). The story of Korechika and his abler brother Takaie is full of pathos. After rising briefly to dizzying heights, Korechika finds himself ousted by Michinaga and, following a stupid brawl with emperor Kazan over a woman, the two brothers are banished. Their fortunes steadily decline, they lose their mother, their sister Teishi, and eventually Korechika dies completely subdued by his fate. His story is rivetting. Chapter 8 ("First Flower") is an extremely detailed account of the first glorious event: the birth of the boy prince Atsuhira to Emperor Ichijo and Empress Shôshi (Michinaga's daughter). The account "borrows" liberally from the superior version by Murasaki Shikibu, which has come to us in her diary. (It is also in this chapter that Korechika dies.) Volume One ends with Chapter 11 ("The Budding Flower") which depicts the birth of Teishi, the daughter to Emperor Sanjô and Empress Kenshi (another daughter by Rinshi).