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Taguchi, Kazumi (2019) Inside Sōseki’s Spiritual Land: Sōseki’s Kanshi and Chinese Thought. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00032308

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Abstract

Kinnosuke Natsume, who went under the pen name of Sōseki Natsume, was born in 1867, the moment in which Japan was transforming from the feudal Edo to the modern Meiji period. Throughout his life he retained a fondness for Edo culture since it reminded him of Japan before modernisation. Although educated in Chinese classics and acquiring an early love of Nanga painting he specialised in English literature and taught the subject at a number of universities. During his student days Sōseki met his best friend Shiki Masaoka, who later became a founder of the literary journal Hototogisu. Shiki inspired Sōseki to begin composing Chinese poems. Whilst living in London at the behest of the Japanese government, Sōseki suffered from a nervous breakdown and received the news that Shiki had died of TB. At this point Sōseki stopped composing Chinese poems and did not begin again until he became seriously ill in 1911. From 1911 to his death in 1916, Sōseki, whenever recovering from his worsening illness composed Chinese poems. He took the process of writing poetry as a form of meditation which helped him cope with his failing health, the pressures he faced and his increasing concern at the direction in which Japan was moving. This study will assess the influence of Chinese thought and literature upon Sōseki in a chronological order by examining his poems in five separate stages: student days; teaching period; serious illness; Nanga painting phase and the writing of ‘Lightness and Darkness’ (Mei-An) his last novel.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: T. H. Barrett
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00032308
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2020 13:42
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/32308

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