Bowring, Richard. Murasaki Shikibu: The Tale of Genji. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
A more up-to-date and concise introduction to Genji than Morris. It concentrates on the work itself, including thematic summaries of the chapters, commentaries on its language and style, and the work’s impact, influence, and reception. Particularly interesting is the account of the medieval stories of Murasaki’s falling to hell and of the dedication of sutras to save her soul.
Kamens, Edward, ed. Approaches to Teaching Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1993.
Part One, Materials, written by Kamens, is a highly useful account of the Genji texts and translations, visual illustrations, sources on the author Murasaki Shikibu, and the available secondary literature on the work. Part Two, Approaches, are articles by Japanese literature scholars describing how they teach Genji from various angles. This is a good resource also for the nonspecialist wishing to teach Heian women’s writing in high school or college.
McCullough, William H. “Marriage Institutions in the Heian Period.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. (27:1967), 103-167.
The most scholarly account of actual marriage practices in the Heian period, based on historical evidence; the discussion of the distinctive marriage arrangement in which the wife and her children remain with her natal family while the husband visits regularly is particularly illuminating.
Morris, Ivan. The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964; Oxford University Press.
As the title indicates, this is a highly informative book on the Heian cultural practices and beliefs which constitute the context for the Tale of Genji, The Pillowbook of Sei Shônagon, and other women’s writing of the period.