Arthur Waley (1889-1966) taught himself Chinese and Japanese after being appointed Assistant Keeper of Oriental Prints and Manuscripts at the British Museum. He was one of the most respected translators of Asian classics into English of his time, with his translated works including The Tale of Genji, Monkey (The Journey to the West) , The Noh Plays of Japan and The Analects of Confucius.
"His [Waley] is the most appealing version for the general reader." -Michael Dirda, Pulitzer-prize winning columnist "In a small diary, a young courtesan of the Heian period gives her account of the Japanese courts of the day, providing perspective on a unique time in Japanese history. A contemporary of Murasaki Shikibu, the author of The Tale of Genji, Sei Shonagon's commentary brings an added dimension to that timeless and seminal work." -Svetlana's Reads and Views blog