Rashomon and Other Unusual Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa ; Translated by Takashi Kojima with an introduction by Howard Hibbett and illustrated by M. Kuwata
New York : Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1952. Hardcover. 119 pages ; 21 cm. In original dust jacket with firm binding and unmarked pages.
RASHOMON AND OTHER UNUSUAL STORIES BY RYUNOSUKE AKUTAGAWA ; With Seven Illustrations By M. Kuwata
Commencing with the story from which the brilliant prize-winning film was made, this collection presents six highly polished stories by one of Japan's finest modern authors. Japanese literature has been undeservedly neglected by the American public, and the publication of this volume marks the first appearance of a Japanese author in many years. The success of the great motion picture has drawn the attention of the western world to the high quality of the creative activities of 20th Century Japan. Prominent among these are the stories, poems, and essays of Ryunosuke Akutagawa.
Before his suicide in 1927, at the age of thirty-five, Akutagawa wrote more than a hundred striking stories. Brilliant, sensitive, cynical, and neurotic, he lived in Tokyo, went to the University, taught briefly, and joined the literary staff of a newspaper. His career was in many ways typical of that of the modern Japanese intellectual, the double victim of an unsympathetic society and a split culture. As is so often the case with really fine writers, Akutagawa's stories were too much against the popular vein to win the acclaim they deserved during their author's lifetime, and it is only within recent years that adequate recognition has been granted them. Akutagawa's splenetic temperament led him to describe the world in a sardonic and satiric fashion. He wasted little sympathy on the follies of men, and his stories present human nature in its less charming moments. Despite a great dissimilarity of style, Akutagawa had much in common with Ring Lardner, and the discerning reader will appreciate the finesse with which the Japanese writer scored off his fellow men.
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