The Reed Cutter and Captain Shigemoto's Mother: Two Novellas

Overview

One of the great novelists of the twentieth century, Junichiro Tanizaki wrote about love--and sex--with a breathtaking suppleness of style and a vast depth of literary allusion. In these two novellas, brilliantly translated by Anthony H. Chambers and appearing in paperback for the first time, Tanizaki probes the translucent screen that separates idealized yearning from humiliating obsession in a society of impenetrable decorum.
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Overview

One of the great novelists of the twentieth century, Junichiro Tanizaki wrote about love--and sex--with a breathtaking suppleness of style and a vast depth of literary allusion. In these two novellas, brilliantly translated by Anthony H. Chambers and appearing in paperback for the first time, Tanizaki probes the translucent screen that separates idealized yearning from humiliating obsession in a society of impenetrable decorum.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These charming but brittle novellas highlight Tanizaki's fascination with courtly Japanese history. ``The Reed Cutter,'' originally published in 1932, is narrated by a contemporary traveller who finds a peaceful sandbar on which to meditate about ancient poetry and courtesans. The narrator is joined by an Osaka antiques dealer, who relates the story of a strange love triangle involving his father, his father's wife and her sister, the aristocratic and lovely Miss Oyu. In ``Captain Shigemoto's Mother'' (1949-50), a craven, high-ranking 10th-century diplomat steals away the young wife of his septuagenarian uncle, separating her from her four-year-old son. Tanizaki describes this peculiar event in compelling detail, then explains how it affected the principal players' subsequent lives, closing with the moving reconciliation of the adult Captain Shigemoto and his elderly mother. The stories are learned and oddly pleasing, although obscure references and occasionally precious writing (perhaps the fault is in the translation) will limit their appeal. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679757917
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1995
  • Series: Vintage International
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,160,206
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Junichiro Tanizaki was born in Tokyo in 1886 and lived there until the earthquake of 1923, when he moved to the Kyoto-Osaka region, the scene of his novel The Makioka Sisters (1943-48). Among his works are Naomi (1924), Some Prefer Nettles (1928), Quicksand (1930), Arrowroot (1931), A Portrait of Shunkin (1933), The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi (1935), modern versions of The Tale of Genji (1941, 1954, and 1965), Captain Shigemoto's Mother (1949), The Key (1956), and Diary of a Mad Old Man (1961). By 1930 he had gained such renown that an edition of his complete works was published, and he was awarded Japan's Imperial Prize in Literature in 1949. Tanizaki died in 1965.
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