Botchan (Dover Books on Literature and Drama)

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9780486479026: Botchan (Dover Books on Literature and Drama)

One of Japan's most popular novels, this timeless tale of a changing society combines old idealism with modern independence. Written in 1906 and loosely based on the author's life, it recounts the experiences of a teacher who moves from Tokyo to an isolated town. Botchan — rash and impulsive in his actions, direct and frank in his speech — is an especially popular figure with young readers, although the Times Literary Supplement noted, "This rollicking rebel, and the spice and pace of the narrative, will appeal to parent, teacher, and schoolchild alike." This edition offers an excellent translation of the author's poetic prose.

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About the Author:


NATSUME SOSEKI, novelist and scholar of English literature, was born in Tokyo in 1867. After graduating from Tokyo University, he taught English language and literature at high school. In 1900, he was sent by the Education Ministry to study in London. On returning to Japan in 1903, he began to teach English literature at Tokyo Imperial University. Also around this time, he was invited by the poet and novelist Takahama Kyoshi to contribute stories to the literary magazine Hototogisu. When Wagahai wa Neko de aru (I am a Cat) and Botchan were serialized in the magazine, they established his reputation as an author.

Translator J. COHN studied Japanese at Cornell and Harvard Universities, as well as in Japan, and now teaches Japanese literature at the University of Hawaii. The author of Studies in the Comic Spirit in Modern Japanese Fiction, Professor Cohn was the recipient of the prestigious Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature from the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, Columbia University in recognition of his translation of Botchan.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It wasn't long before the school got on my nerves too.

One evening as I was strolling through a part of the town called Omachi, I saw a sign next to the post office which said: Noodles, with the footnote, Tokyo-style. I've always been very fond of noodles, and when I was in Tokyo could flever pass a noodle shop and smell that spicy aroma without going in. Since I had come to this town I had--what with school and antiques--forgotten about noodles; but now, seeing that sign, I just could not walk past. I thought that I would have a bowl while I was there, and went in.

The interior didn't live up to the sign outside. They had announced that this was "Tokyo-style," so the place should have been clean, but either from ignorance of Tokyo, or lack of money, it was filthy. The tatami matting was discolored and, for good measure, it was gritty underfoot. The walls were grimy with soot, and the ceiling, which was also black from the smoke of an oil-lamp, was so low that you involuntarily ducked your head as you walked about. The only thing that was plainly new was the sign on the wall which gave the names and prices of the various dishes. The owner had obviously bought an old building and opened it as a restaurant two or three days before. The first thing on the menu was noodles with fried prawns.

"Hey! Noodles with fried prawns," I called in a loud voice. At this, three people sitting in a corner, who had been eating noodles with a hissing, sucking sound, all looked across at me together. The inside of the shop was dark and I hadn't noticed them before, but I now recognized them as pupils at the school. We said good evening to each other and I got on with my meal. I hadn't had noodles for a long time and they tasted good, so I polished off four bowls.

The next day I walked blithely into the classroom, only to be confronted with the words A FRIED PRAWN FOR THE TEACHER, written in enormous letters, covering the blackboard. When they saw the look on my face, everyone burst out laughing. This struck me as absurd, and I asked them what was so funny about fried prawns, to which one of the pupils replied, "But four bowls! That's a bit much, like." I told them that it was my money and that it had nothing to do with them whether I ate four bowls or five. I then went through the lesson as quickly as I could and returned to the staff room.

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Book Description 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Written in 1906, Botchan remains among Japan's most popular novels. Its central theme is morality, and it was based on the author's experiences as a teacher who moves from the.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 176 pages. 0.159. Bookseller Inventory # 9780486479026

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