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By Marvin Marcus

Much has been written approximately Natsume Soseki (1867–1916), one in all Japan’s so much celebrated writers. recognized basically for his novels, he additionally released a wide and various physique of brief own writings (shohin) that experience lengthy lived within the shadow of his fictional works. The essays, which seemed within the Asahi shinbun among 1907 and 1915, contain a desirable autobiographical mosaic, whereas shooting the spirit of the Meiji period and the beginning of recent Japan.

In Reflections in a tumbler Door, Marvin Marcus introduces readers to a wealthy sampling of Soseki’s shohin. the author revisits his Tokyo early life, recalling family members, neighbors, and associates and musing wistfully at the transformation of his urban and its previous neighborhoods. He painfully recounts his years in London, the place he immersed himself in literary examine whilst he struggled with serious melancholy. a protracted belly disorder factors Soseki to mirror on his personal mortality and what he observed because the non secular afflictions of recent eastern: rampant egocentrism and materialism. all through he adopts a couple of narrative voices and poses: the peevish husband, the harried novelist, the convalescent, the seeker of knowledge.

Marcus identifies reminiscence and depression as key topics in Soseki’s own writings and highlights their relevance in his fiction. He balances Soseki’s account of his Tokyo family with that of his spouse, Natsume Kyoko, who left a simple list of lifestyles together with her celebrated husband. Soseki crafted a relocating and convincing voice in his shohin, that can now be reflected and loved for his or her penetrating commentary and honesty, in addition to the clean standpoint they give on considered one of Japan’s literary giants.

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Extra info for Reflections in a Glass Door: Memory and Melancholy in the Personal Writing of Natsume Soseki.

Example text

Did Natsume Kinnosuke go mad in England? 56 But it is all too tempting, and facile, to conflate armchair psychology and literary analysis. It can be argued that Neko and Michikusa—the alpha and omega, so to speak, of Sōseki’s autobiographical fiction—channeled the “madness muse” of the author’s London experience. 36 london underground But what does this explain regarding the shape and sense of these literary creations? In 2002, Natsume Fusanosuke visited London in connection with an NHK television production commemorating the centennial of his grandfather’s return from his stay in England.

I’m unaware exactly when in the Meiji it was formally established, but I do know that my father is the one who named it. 19 This is how I recall the story, although I can’t be sure whether I heard it from my father or someone else.

46 For his part, Doi Bansui (1871–1952) had known Sōseki at the Imperial University, where both graduated from the English department. Doi himself went overseas, in 1901, at his own expense, and settled in London. His reminiscence is contained in a detailed letter sent to Natsume Kyōko in February 1928. In it, he remarks on his association with Sōseki in September 1902, when, out of growing concern for his friend’s state of mind, he moved into the Clapham lodgings to see the situation firsthand.

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