Title: JAPAN, THE BEAUTIFUL, AND MYSELF: THE NOBEL ...
Publisher: Tokyo, Japan: Kodansha Publishers, 1969
Binding: Soft cover
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. 85 pages. Published in 1969. Full transcript of the author's Nobel Prize Lecture. One of the greatest literary texts of the 20th century. The true First Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a softcover original only. There is no ISBN. The First Edition is now rare. In publisher's integral plastic covers, as issued. Presents Yasunari Kawabata's "Japan, The Beautiful, And Myself" in a felicitous English translation. The definitive text on the Zen Buddhism-inspired Japanese aesthetics by its greatest modern literary exponent. The Lecture is presented in both the Japanese original (presented "backwards", from right to left page) and felicitous English translation by Edward G. Seidensticker, the greatest translator of Japanese literature in English thus far (presented "forward", from left to right page). Kawabata situates his work not in the context of Japanese (or even, world) literature, but in the broader (and to him, more meaningful) context of the great Japanese artistic tradition itself. This Classical tradition is described by the Nobel Laureate in concrete, erudite detail: The contemplation of and reverence for Nature ("Japan"), the ritual called the tea ceremony, ancient ceramics, calligraphy, and painting ("The Beautiful") as well as the haiku, the unique Japanese literary invention (since adopted by amateur and professional writers all over the world) that captures "the poetry of the fleeting moment". As for "Myself": "Here we have the Emptiness, the Nothingness of the Orient. My own works have been described as works of emptiness, but it is not to be taken for the nihilism of the West. The spiritual foundation would seem to be quite different" (Yasunari Kawabata). The "spiritual foundation" is the extinction of ego, the source of all earthly pain, grief, and suffering, and the attainment of "blissful ego-lessness" that Buddhists (such as Kawabata) famously call "Nirvana". Here he explicitly parts ways with his fellow Japanese writers (think of a flamboyant counter-figure like Mishima) even as he aligns himself closely with Japanese art: Alone among all other great Japanese writers, Kawabata, a committed Zen Buddhist, emphasizes inner clarity (in addition to, not instead of, outward clarity, that is, selfless compassion for others). The closest thing in the Western tradition to "Nirvana" is heaven, an actual place, and the state of being called grace. However, both come from above rather than from within. An absolute "must-have" title for Yasunari Kawabata collectors. This title is a great book. As far as we know, this is the only copy of the true First Edition/First Printing available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. Please note: The First Edition comes in the publisher's integral plastic covers. All other copies available online are subsequent printings and have serious flaws yet command hundreds of dollars. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A rare copy thus. Illustrated with vintage black-and-white photographic plates. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. One of the greatest writers of the 20th century. A fine copy. Bookseller Inventory # 20184
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