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Special Issue on Soseki’s “Theory of Literature”

Posted in Books,Japanese literature by bourdaghs on the May 29th, 2012

The May/June 2012 issue of Iwanami Shoten’s journal Bungaku is out now. It’s a special issue devoted to the theme of “Opening Up Soseki’s ‘Theory of Literature'”–in other words, new approaches to Natsume Soseki’s 1907 Bungakuron, his attempt to construct a fully scientific, universally valid theory of literature. The first part of the issue draws from a conference hosted last December by the University of Tokyo and features essays by Komori Yoichi, Joseph Murphy, Noami Mariko, Saito Mareshi, Atsuko Ueda and yours truly. It also includes a transcript of the concluding roundtable discussion from that event.

The rest of the issue includes a number of very interesting looking new articles on the topic by both veteran and younger scholars. I actually haven’t received my copy of the issue yet, so can’t say a great deal at this point about them, other than that their titles are quite intriguing. Check out the full table of contents here (Japanese language only).

The issue can be ordered through’s Japan site, and of course the English translation of Soseki’s Theory of Literature and Other Critical Writings is still available.

Even after ten years of nearly constant work on it, I still find Soseki’s Theory of Literature a remarkably interesting, even mysterious, work. I know I will be wrestling with it for many years to come. This new special issue hints that it’s a fascination I share with many others.

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