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Towards a New Concept of the Trilogy: Natsume Soseki's Sanshiro, Sore Kara, and Mon

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Title: Towards a New Concept of the Trilogy: Natsume Soseki's Sanshiro, Sore Kara, and Mon
Authors: Johnson, Sonya
Issue Date: 15 Jan 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: Natsume Soseki is regarded by Japanese critics and public alike as the greatest writer of modern Japan. Every school child reads his works of lightning wit and charm, Wagahai wa Neko de Aru (I am a Cat, 1905-1906), and Botchan (1907). Novels by Soseki of far greater depth, however, such as Mon (The Gate, 1910), Kojin (The Wayfarer, 1912-1913), Meian (Light and Darkness, 1916), and others, are not read as widely by the public, but retain their power and immediacy. Kokoro (1914) is, however, quite widely appreciated. Many believe that Soseki's novels such as the aforementioned are somehow reserved for the "intellectual." While they are so multifaceted that volumes have been written on them, these later works are very accessible. Soseki desired, above all, to communicate with his readers. He was one of the single most influential advocates for prose to be written closer to how it was actually spoken, rather than in the stiff literary style that had been used in Japan for centuries. Soseki certainly practiced in his own prose what he preached. Furthermore, even in his most solemn works, Soseki's wit is never completely buried. While the works may be pessimistic, they are never despairing or nihilistic. If a glancing wit can be said to be an index of accessibility, then Soseki certainly passes muster. Finally, Soseki made a very great effort both in style and content to write for the average moderately well-educated person, which today includes most of Japan's population. He is one of the few writers in the world who wrote literature that is at once popular and at the same time delves deeply into universal and existential questions of mankind: questions about man's relationship to fellow man, to himself, and to God.
Pages/Duration: 113 pages
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for East Asian Languages and Literature

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