Literature

CLASSICAL LITERATURE

Genji Monogatari (源氏物語) – The Tale of Genji

A classic work of Japanese literature attributed to the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early eleventh century, sometimes called the world's first novel, the first modern novel, the first psychological novel (debatable).

Nansō Satomi Hakkenden (南總里見八犬傳) – The legend of the Eight Dog Warriors

106 volume epic novel by Kyokutei Bakin. Written over a period of nearly thirty years and published from 1814 to 1842.

 

MODERN LITERATURE

I am a cat Wagahai wa neko de aru (吾輩は猫である) – I am a Cat
by Natsume Souseki

Written over the course of 1904-6, Souseki's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the follies of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.

Of particular interest is the title of the book itself: "wagahai" is the word for "I" reserved for use by the Japanese royalty. In a sense, then, one may consider the proper translation of the title to be "We Are a Cat."

Born Natsume Kinnosuke, Souseki was brought up in a middle-class family at the beginning of the Meiji period. After an extensive education in English, Chinese, and Japanese literature, Soseki taught English at the University of Tokyo. In 1907, he gave up teaching to devote himself to writing and produced a number of books, including Botchan, The Three-Cornered World, and Mon. He died in Tokyo in 1916.

 

 

 

© Kasuga Design 2009