The original concept for what is known as a Pillow Book derives from the 11th century Japanese court. Sei Shonagon was a court lady in the service of Empress Consort Teishi. Sei, much like Samuel Pepys in his diary of English court life in the 1600’s, included poetic lists, commentary on court life and her opinions of contemporaries and national events. Though a personal diary of her thoughts, Sei’s writing was poetic, literary and witty in tone, including a full measure of court gossip and parodies of court figures. It was first translated into English in 1889.
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