• The Gate

One of the central masterpieces of twentieth-century Japanese literature

The Gate describes the everyday world of the humble clerk Sosuke and his wife Oyone, living in quiet obscurity in a house at the bottom of a cliff. Seemingly cursed with the inability to have children, the couple take responsibility for Sosuke’s younger brother Koroku. Oyone’s health begins to fail, and news that her estranged ex-husband will be visiting nearby finally promotes a sense of crisis in Sosuke and forces him temporarily to quit his life of quiet domesticity.

Highly prized for the beauty of its description of the understated love between Sosuke and Oyone, The Gate has nevertheless remained in many ways mysterious. An introduction to the novel by Damian Flanagan casts fresh insights into its complex symbolism and Nietzschean ideas, establishing The Gate as one of the most profound works of the modern age.

Natsume 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. Unlike them Soseki's work is only recently coming to the attention of readers outside of Japan. The Gate joins the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, which include Kokoro, 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 sensitive, skilfully written novel by the most widely read Japanese author of modern times.’ – The Guardian
‘Soseki’s prose is so delicate that each page is like looking at a set of dreamy watercolours.’ – Sunday Telegraph
‘Great sensitivity and insight’ – Sunday Times
‘The Gate is not so much tragic or comic as a graceful balance between the dispiriting and the humorous . . . The Gate is surely the kind of writing we need – a masterpiece of taste and clarity. Francis Mathy’s translation must be warmly commended.’ – New Statesman
Translated by Francis Mathy 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 1st December 2005
ISBN Number 9780720612509
Pages 242

The Gate

  • £9.95

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Tags: Japanese literature, Japan, Endo, Soseki Natsume, Mishima, Kawabata, classics, world classics, philosophical, relationships, love, Nietzsche, Yukio, Damian Flanagan, translated fiction, fiction, novel, natsume soseki, soseki, flanagan, three cornered, three-cornered world, kokoro