When I was in college, I took a class on the culture of Heian Japan, and the one and only thing I remember about that subject is The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon. This strange, brilliant book has haunted me for years.
Sei Shonagon was a court lady in tenth-century Japan, and in her “pillow book,” she wrote down her impressions about things she liked, disliked, observed, and did.
I love lists of all kind, and certainly Sei Shonagon did, as well. Her lists are beautifully evocative.
One of my favorites is below…
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