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Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) used to be the key jap novelist of the 20th century, identified for such hugely acclaimed works as Kokoro, Sanshiro, and I Am a Cat. but he all started his occupation as a literary theorist and student of English literature. In 1907, he released Theory of Literature, a remarkably forward-thinking try to know the way and why we learn. The textual content anticipates through a long time the tips and ideas of formalism, structuralism, reader-response concept, and postcolonialism, in addition to cognitive ways to literature which are simply now gaining traction.

Employing the state of the art ways of up to date psychology and sociology, Soseki created a version for learning the wakeful event of analyzing literature in addition to a concept for a way the method alterations through the years and throughout cultures. besides Theory of Literature, this quantity reproduces a later sequence of lectures and essays within which Soseki endured to enhance his theories. via insisting that literary style is socially and traditionally decided, Soseki used to be in a position to problem the prevalence of the Western canon, and via grounding his idea in clinical wisdom, he was once in a position to declare a common validity.

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Extra resources for Theory of Literature and Other Critical Writings

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Quantitative Change in Literary Substance Book 3. The Particular Character of Literary Substance Book 4. Interrelations Between Literary Substances Book 5. Group F PART TWO Other Writings on Literary Theory, 1907 “Statement on Joining the Asahi” “Philosophical Foundations of the Literary Arts” “Preface” to Literary Criticism “The Merits and Flaws of -isms” “My Individualism” Notes Index ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many scholars contributed to the effort that led to this volume. The editors would like to thank Rachael Hutchinson, Jay Rubin, and Keith Vincent for contributing translations to this project.

Sōseki would continue to compose classical Chinese poetry (kanshi) until his death and would write a significant essay on Lao Tzu while at the university. A number of the literary examples cited in Theory of Literature are derived from the classical Chinese canon. All of which is to say that Sōseki’s education left him with the ability to relativize the supposedly universal intellectual systems of Western modernity he would encounter as a student and teacher in the new modern educational system set up by the Meiji state.

The professor went on to list twenty definitions of literature that had been formulated by men of letters down through the ages. 1 As he grows savvier, Sanshirō will also lose his respectful habit of taking careful notes and even of attending class. He learns from classmates that lectures today are not up to the standards of earlier professors, such as Lafcadio Hearn. In turn, Sanshirō becomes embroiled in university politics, including a campaign by students to replace foreign professors of literature with native Japanese scholars.

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