• The Three-cornered World


Going up a mountain track, I fell to thinking. Approach everything rationally, and you become harsh. Pole along in the stream of emotions, and you will be swept away by the current. Give free rein to your desires, and you become uncomfortably confined. It is not a very agreeable place to live, this world of ours.


Opening with the most famous introductory lines in Japanese literature, The Three-Cornered World has been cherished by generations of readers as a glittering jewel in the crown of Soseki's artistic achievement.


A painter escapes to a mountain spa to work in a world free of emotional entanglement, but finds himself fascinated by the alluring mistress at his inn. He imagines painting her, inspired by thoughts of Millais' Ophelia. But strange rumours surround the woman; that she has abandoned her husband and fallen in love with a priest at a nearby temple. Somehow the right expression for her face eludes the artist. Beautifully written, humorous and filled with bitter-sweet reflections on the human condition, The Three-Cornered World was intended as a unique haiku-novel with a mood utterly different to anything ever produced in the West. Demonstrating along the way a mastery of everything from Western painting to Chinese literature, Soseki succeeded in an artistic tour-de-force that produced what legendary recording artist Glenn Gould would simply refer to as his favourite book.

‘Vastly refreshing . . . Soseki doesn’t shrink from seeking and finding exquisite pearls of beauty.’ – The Guardian
‘A writer to be judged by the highest standards. His works create, after the fashion of all great writers, a new and completely individual reality.’ – The Spectator
‘The greatest Japanese novelist of the modern period.’ – Sunday Telegraph
Translated by Alan Turney 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 20th September 2010
ISBN Number 9780720613575
Pages 220

The Three-cornered World

  • £9.99


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Tags: Japanese literature, Japan, Endo, Soseki Natsume, Mishima, Three Cornered, classics, world classics, philosophical, Glenn Gould, Nietzsche, Yukio, Damian Flanagan, translated fiction, fiction, novel