NATSUME SOSEKI (1867-1916) is widely considered to be the greatest writer in modern Japanese history. Educated at Tokyo Imperial University, he was sent to England in 1900 as a government scholar. As one of the first Japanese writers to be influenced by Western culture, each of his novels convey a subtle blend of Japanese ideals with Western philosophy and modernist styles. Soseki's significance to Japan can be compared to that of Dickens to Britain or Henry James to North America. Like these writers his work now holds a hugely popular and important place in the literary imagination of his country. His novels include Kokoro, The Gate, I am a Cat and The Three-Cornered World, the latter of which so enraptured the legendary pianist Glenn Gould that he read the entire book to his cousin over the phone.
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