坊ちゃん

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Kodansha International, 2007 - Fiction - 172 pages
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Botchan, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or The Catcher in the Rye, is a classic of its kind, a sly, funny, poignant tale about a young mans rebellion against the system. Since its original publication 100 years ago, it has enjoyed a timeless popularity among Japanese readers both young and old, making it, according to Donald Keene, probably the most widely read novel in modern Japan.

The setting is Japan's deep south, where the author himself spent four years teaching English in a middle school. Into this conservative world, with its social proprieties and established pecking order, breezes Botchan, down from the big city, with scant respect for either his elders or his noisy young charges; and the result is a chain of collisions large and small.

Most of the story seems to occur in summer, against the drone of cicadas and the sting of mosquitoes. And in every way this is a summer book--light, sunny, and fun to read. Here, in a lively new translation much better suited to the American reader, Botchan should continue to entertain even those who have never been near the sunlit island on which these calamitous episodes take place.
 

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Botchan

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Published in 1906, this comic novel remains popular in Soseki's native Japan. A precursor to the rebellious school youth works popularized by Salinger and others, it follows a city teacher who ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
ii
Section 4
13
Section 5
61
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About the author (2007)


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.

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