• Kokoro

A young student makes himself the acolyte of an old man he calls 'Sensei'. Bitter, cynical and indolent, Sensei has withdrawn from society. The young student is at once attracted by these qualities and also deeply puzzled. Not even Sensei's wife knows the source of his inconsolable heart.

As their friendship grows, the young student becomes more intrigued by the secrets that haunt Sensei, the mysteries of his past that have compromised his relationship with the world. Kokoro, meaning heart in Japanese, is a meditation on the part played by honour, friendship, love and death in Japanese culture. Beautifully written by Japan's preeminent author Natsume Soseki, and profoundly absorbing, it is also a sly subversion of all of these things.

Kokoro joins the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, which include The Gate, The Tower of London and the The Three-Cornered World from Peter Owen Publishers as part of an international programme to bring one of Japan's best known authors to a new English speaking audience.

‘A brilliant piece of narrative . . . Kokoro is exactly what you would ask a novel to be . . . its effect is so fresh, so particular to itself . . . There is no more exhilarating experience than this sort of discovery . . . Soseki manipulates every detail with the same thrilling mastery.’ – The Spectator
‘Sparsely populated, simple but perfect . . .it is a melancholy but stoical study in lonliness, guilt and self hatred . . . recalls Turgenev both in its economy and perfect symmetry of architecture.’ – Sunday Telegraph
‘Great sensitivity and insight’ – Sunday Times
‘A fascinating book, written with the most beautiful lucidity: it is subtle, nostalgic and persuasive.’ – Scotsman
Translated by Edwin McClellen and with an introduction by Damian Flanagan

NATSUME SOSEKI (1867-1916) is one of the great writers of the modern world. 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, his various works are read by virtually all Japanese, and contemporary authors in Japan continue to be influenced by his oeuvre. 

Bibliographic Data
Date Published 2nd May 2007
ISBN Number 9780720612974
Pages 288

Kokoro

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Tags: Japanese literature, edwin mcclellen, damian flanagan, natsume soseki, soseki, japanese classics, world literature, japan fiction, unesco