Rivka Galchen on beauty and The Pillow Book

From a Rivka Galchen review of:

Unbinding ‘The Pillow Book’: The Many Lives of a Japanese Classic 
by Gergana Ivanova.

LRB Vol. 42 No. 1 · 2 January 2020

One compelling idea of beauty is that something is beautiful to the extent that it sets off in the mind of the looker (or reader) a series of attempts to categorise the beautiful thing – at which point, once the correct category is found, the beautiful object can settle into ordinariness. The longer it takes before the beautiful thing or person or experience can be satisfactorily categorised, the more beautiful the thing or person or experience – or maybe book – is. The Pillow Book, in this line of thought, is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, and its author – ancient and modern, silly and sophisticated, cruel and tender, alien and familiar – is similarly beautiful, and ultimately uncategorisable. In English we can catch imperfect sight of her, as if from behind a screen.

Author: bsadceramics

Course leader, MA Ceramics Bath School of Art & Design

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s