The Three-Cornered World

The Three-Cornered World

by Natsume Soseki
     
 

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A key work in the Japanese transition from traditional to modern literature
 
"Walking up a mountain track, I fell to thinking.
Approach everything rationally, and you become harsh. Pole along in the stream of emotions, and you will be swept away by the current. Give free rein to your desires, and you become uncomfortably confined. It is not

Overview

A key work in the Japanese transition from traditional to modern literature
 
"Walking up a mountain track, I fell to thinking.
Approach everything rationally, and you become harsh. Pole along in the stream of emotions, and you will be swept away by the current. Give free rein to your desires, and you become uncomfortably confined. It is not a very agreeable place to live, this world of ours."

 

Opening with the most famous introductory lines in Japanese literature, this novel has been cherished by generations of readers as a glittering jewel in the crown of Soseki's artistic achievement. A painter escapes to a mountain spa to work in a world free of emotional entanglement, but finds himself fascinated by the alluring mistress at his inn, and inspired by thoughts of Ophelia by Millais, he imagines painting her. The woman is rumored to have abandoned her husband and fallen in love with a priest at a nearby temple, but somehow the right expression for the face on the painting eludes the artist. Beautifully written, humorous, and filled with bittersweet reflections on the human condition, this work was intended as a unique "haiku-novel" with a mood utterly different to anything ever produced in the West. Demonstrating along the way a mastery of everything from Western painting to Chinese literature, Soseki succeeded in creating an artistic tour-de-force.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Written in the early 1900s, this novel was translated from the Japanese in 1965. Soseke's novel follows an artist sojourning in the mountains to meditate, but his plans go astray when he meets a young woman with whom he becomes entranced. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Soseki is the representative modern Japanese novelist, a figure of truly national stature."  —Haruki Murakami

"The greatest Japanese novelist of the modern period."  —Sunday Telegraph

"A writer to be judged by the highest standards. His works create, after the fashion of all great writers, a new and completely individual reality."  —Spectator

"Vastly refreshing . . . Soseki doesn’t shrink from seeking and finding exquisite pearls of beauty."  —Guardian

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399506079
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
08/05/1982
Series:
The Perigee Japanese Library
Pages:
184
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Natsume Soseki (1867–1916) is one of the great writers of the modern world. Educated at Tokyo Imperial University, he was sent to England in 1900 as a government scholar. As one of the first Japanese writers to be influenced by Western culture, his various works are widely read in Japan, and contemporary authors in Japan continue to be influenced by his oeuvre, which also includes The Gate, I Am a Cat, Kokoro, and Sanshiro.

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