"In the section Hateful Things, Sei Shonagon describes when "one has gone to bed and is about to doze off, a mosquito appears announcing himself in a reedy voice. One can actually feel the wind made by his wings, and one finds it hateful in the extreme" (Maynard 2202). After reading this quote you almost want to start scratching your skin and shake off the bugs!!"
Sei Shonagon was a contemporary and erstwhile rival of Lady Murasaki, whose novel The Tale of Genji fictionalizes the court life Shonagon describes. The Pillow Book is a collection of anecdotes, memories of court and religious ceremonies, character sketches, lists of things the author enjoyed or loathed, places that interested her, diary entries, descriptions of nature, pilgrimages, conversations, poetry exchanges–indeed, almost everything that made up daily life for the upper classes in japan during the Heian period. Her style is so eloquent, her observations so skillfully chosen, and her wit so sharp that even the smallest detail she records can attract and hold the attention of any modern reader.
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
Translated by Ivan Morris
Columbia University Press