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Unformatted text preview: ilgrims. He had come along with them for one
evening, and the one evening had grown to two and then to three. Partly of
course it was the puppet plays that had kept him on, but doubtless it was
partly too his interest in the relationship between the old man and O-hisa. A
sensitive woman, a woman with ideas, can only get more troublesome and
less likable with the years. Surely, then, one does better to fall in love with the
sort of woman one can cherish as a doll. Kaname had no illusions about his
ability to imitate the old man; but still, when he thought of his own family
affairs, of that perpetual knowing countenance and of the endless disagreements, the old man’s life—off to Awaji appointed like a doll on the stage,
accompanied by a doll, in search of an old doll to buy—seemed to suggest a
profound spiritual peace reached without training and without effort. If only
he could follow the old man’s example, Kaname thought.9 One of the greatest writers of the late Meiji and early Taishò periods,
who was not associated with any particular movement or school, was
Natsume Sòseki (1867–1916). Sòseki majored in English literature at
Tokyo Imperial University and studied in England from 1900 until 1903.
He subsequently lectured for a brief period at the university as the successor to Lafcadio Hearn, but devoted most of his time during the remaining years of his life to the prolific output of novels that have earned
him the lofty position he holds in modern Japanese literature.
Natsume Sòseki’s great theme was the loneliness and isolation of man,
particularly the Japanese intellectual of his age, whose society had in
recent decades rejected so much of the native tradition and taken on so
much of the scientific and industrial facade of the West that it had
plunged itself into a great spiritual abyss. It is from Sòseki that we hear
the most anguished cry over the failure of “Eastern morals” to keep pace
with “Western technology” in the course of Japan’s modernization. Man
is by nature an isolated creature, yet how much more agonizing is his
ordeal of loneliness when an impersonal and alien technology has
destroyed the very fabric and continuity of his society.
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13