Natsume, Soseki The Miner

ISBN 13: 9780008113339

The Miner

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9780008113339: The Miner

The Miner is the most daringly experimental and least well known novel of the great Meiji novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916). Written in 1908, it is an absurdist novel about the indeterminate nature of human personality, which in many respects anticipates the work of Joyce and Beckett. Virtually devoid of plot and characterization, it unfolds entirely within the mind of the unnamed protagonist. Focusing on a young man whose love life has fallen to pieces, The Miner follows him as he flees from Tokyo, is picked up by a procurer of cheap labor for a copper mine, and then travels toward - and finally burrows into the depths of - the mine where he hopes to find oblivion. The young man reflects at length on nearly every thought and perception he experiences along the way, in terms of what the experience means to him at the time and in retrospect as a mature adult narrating the tale. The narrator concludes that there is no such thing as human character, and the many passages in which he ruminates on the nature of personality constitute the theoretical core of the book. The intellectual distancing carries over into the style of writing as well, and instead of a tragedy of alienation, we find here an absurdist - truly absurd and comical - allegory of descent into the psyche.<

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Product Description:

The Miner is the most daringly experimental and least well known novel of the great Meiji novelist Soseki Natsume. An absurdist novel about the indeterminate nature of human personality, The Miner, written in 1908, was in many was a pre-cursor to the now-infamous work of Joyce and Beckett. The narrative unfolds within the mind of an unnamed protagonist-narrator, a young man caught in a love triangle who flees Tokyo, is picked up by a procurer of cheap labour for a copper mine, then travels toward and inside the depths of the mine, in search of oblivion. As he delves, the young man reflects at length on nearly every thought and perception he experiences along the way, in terms of what the experience means to him at the time and in retrospect as a mature adult narrating the tale. His conclusion? That there is no such thing as human character. The result is a novel that is both absurd and comical, and a true modernist classic.

About the Author:

Soseki Natsume (1868-1916) is widely considered the foremost novelist in modern Japanese history. After graduating from Tokyo Imperial University in 1893 and a brief stint as a teacher, Soseki spent two years in London on a Japanese government scholarship. He returned to Tokyo to lecture English Literature. Numerous nervous disorders forced him to give up teaching in 1908, at which point he dedicated his life to writing full-time, producing fourteen novels as well as a raft of poetry, academic essays, autobiographical pieces and fairy tales.

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