Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

Book - 2006
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Penguin Putnam
A stunning deluxe edition of one of Penguin Classics' most popular translations

Ryünosuke Akutagawa is one of Japan's foremost stylists—a modernist master whose short stories are marked by highly original imagery, cynicism, beauty and wild humour. "Rashömon"and "In a Bamboo Grove" inspired Kurosawa's magnificent film and depict a past in which morality is turned upside down, while tales such as "The Nose," "O-Gin" and "Loyalty" paint a rich and imaginative picture of a medieval Japan peopled by Shoguns and priests, vagrants and peasants. And in later works such as "Death Register," "The Life of a Stupid Man," and "Spinning Gears," Akutagawa drew from his own life to devastating effect, revealing his intense melancholy and terror of madness in exquisitely moving impressionistic stories.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2006
Description: li, 268 p. ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9780143039846
Branch Call Number: Akut


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Dec 20, 2017

Should you embark upon reading this book and become discouraged (as was I) by the dark, brutal nature of the first group of stories, reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm, please don't give up. Encountering "Hell Screen" I came to realize what a masterful writer Akutagawa was. This is not just an account of a painting depicting Hell: This is Hell itself!
Then, modern pieces such as "Green Onions" -- a story that could easily fit into one of O. Henry's clever collections such as The Trimmed Lamp -- display a different side of Akutagawa entirely.
In the final section of the book, one comes face to face with Akutagawa himself, his soul laid bare in "The Life of a Stupid Man", a brilliant set of poetic tableaux. The book concludes with "Spinning Gears", a powerful and terrifying account of his descent into madness. Surely a masterpiece!

theorbys Jun 01, 2012

One of Japan's finest, most tragic writers. This is a remarkable collection of short stories and unfortunately about as much as you can find in English by Akutagawa. The first two, Rashomon and In A Bamboo Grove, were the basis of Kurosawa's film, Rashomon. Spinning Gears is a hallucinatory, autobiographical record of a mind spinning into madness and suicide.

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