03_shiga_seibei_gourds - The following story has been...

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The following story has been scanned from Modern Japanese Stories: An Anthology edited by Ivan Morris with translations by Edward Seidensticker, George Saitô, Geoffrey Sargent and Ivan Morris, with woodcuts by Masakazu Kuwata. Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo, Japan: Charles E. Tuttle Company. The anthology is in many editions. The edition I used was the first edition of 1962. The below text is the result of first scanning the original then using OCR software to convert those scans to text. While I have attempted to catch any errors in spelling or formatting (such as italicizing foreign terms and such), I cannot guarantee that the text is an exact replication of the original. Also, font choice and formatting do not try to imitate the original. Finally, the woodblock print that is inserted into this story has not been included, to help keep the file size small. The original text appears on pages 81–89.
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Shiga Naoya was born in 1883 into a well-to-do, upper-class family. He is one of the two great writers of the Meiji period who are still alive in 1961, and it is interesting to recall that, as in the case of both Nagai Kafû and Tanizaki Junichirô, his early work was largely inspired by a reaction against the prevailing naturalism. After graduating from the Peers' School in 1906, Shiga entered the English Literature Department of Tokyo Imperial University, but he soon broke off his studies to devote himself entirely to creative literature. In 1910 he joined a group of young literati, mostly the scions of peers and wealthy families, and helped to publish a literary magazine. This magazine was called Shirakaba (“White Birch") and it gave its name to an important literary movement that lasted until the early 1920's. The Shirakaba movement was inspired by a very idealistic form of humanism which reacted against the mechanical philosophy and pessimism of naturalism by emphasizing the importance of the individual. In contradistinction to the all-pervading doubt and despair of the naturalists, the young Shirakaba writers proclaimed themselves humanists, for whom the fundamental purpose of existence lay in the development and expression of one’s own inner life. The neo-idealists (as they came to be called) were strongly influenced by the humanism of Tolstoy and Dostoievsky and looked forward to the eventual triumph of love and to the brotherhood of the human race.
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Many of Shiga's early short stories were written under the spell of high-minded Shirakaba idealism. After a number of years, however, his essentially down-to-earth approach inclined him toward a more realistic form of expression and, like many other members of the Shirakaba school who were to become important writers (e.g., Satomi Ton), he outgrew its rather woolly idealism and launched into his own style of literature with his own ideas. The realism of Shiga's fiction, especially after 1920, has exerted a particular influence on modern Japanese literature. Shiga Naoya is an intensely personal writer. Most of his principal
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This note was uploaded on 04/23/2011 for the course JAPAN 7b taught by Professor Wallace during the Spring '11 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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03_shiga_seibei_gourds - The following story has been...

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