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Although Natsume Soseki is widely celebrated as Japan's greatest modern novelist, he began his writing career as a literary theorist and scholar of English literature. He would later look back on his Theory of Literature (1907) as an immature and unfinished work, but it is in fact an astonishingly original attempt at constructing a model for understanding all literature through the experience of reading." "The Theory of Literature foreshadows the ideas and concepts that would later form the critical foundations of formalism, structuralism, reader-response theory, cognitive science, and postcolonialism. It remains an unprecedented work of literary theory, unmistakably modern yet also clearly (and self-consciously) non-Western. In a later series of lectures and essays, Soseki continued to develop his ideas. This material, some of it never before translated into English, is also included in the volume. The editors offer a critical introduction that contextualizes Soseki's theoretical project historically and explores its contemporary legacy.
Theory of Literature and Other Critical Writings
Natsume, Soseki
Columbia University Press
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