If you research Ryunosuke Akutagawa on the web, you’ll find numerous references to him being the “father of the Japanese short story”, in fact my edition of “Mandarins” says that in the back cover. Akutagawa was raised by his uncle as his mother had gone mad only a few months after his birth, in 1892. This event was to haunt him throughout his life, the fear of insanity. Only living 35 years, to have produced hundreds of short stories, before his suicide from a barbiturates overdose, is an amazing achievement. Akutagawa’s most well known story is Rashomon , primarily due to Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 successful movie of the same name, the film is in fact based on two of Akutagawa ‘s stories, “Rashomon” (for the setting) and “In A Bamboo Grove” (for the characters and the plot). Both of these stories as well as later works by Akutagawa, where his fear of madness comes to the fore, can be read in the Penguin Classics “Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories”.
I chose the Archipelago Books “Mandarins”, not to avoid the more well known tales, but as a supporter of independent publishing (especially in translation) I thought this would make a more appropriate read.
For my full review go to [...]
- Paperback: 255 pages
- Publisher: ARCHIPELAGO; 1 edition (15 December 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780977857609
- ISBN-13: 978-0977857609
- ASIN: 0977857603
- Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 1.8 x 19 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 318 g
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