Definition of pillow book in US English:

pillow book


  • (in Japanese classical literature) a type of private diary.

    • ‘John Bell, Wheeler's learned, polyglot young assistant, and Claire Tsong, his art-restorer friend, may have discovered an invaluable eleventh-century pillow book, or have they made it up?’
    • ‘From all through the 18th and 19th centuries and it's all kind of tucked under the bed, in little pillow books and there's extraordinary large collections of material from that time.’
    • ‘All we need to do is eliminate a few people. - We could catalog endless taxonomies of attack, compiling like Sei Shonagon cozy lists of hateful people in a bedtime pillow book.’
    • ‘This medium can be traced back to pillow books and the illustrated tradition in Japanese culture - a culture where even written language has evolved from drawings rather than alphabetical ciphers.’
    • ‘Sade's brand of restlessness, however, provokes moral disquiet, and, for all its flamboyance, The 120 Days is less a pillow book than a novel of dystopia.’