Saturday, September 19, 2015

"The Life of a Stupid Man" by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa


On of the three little Penguin books I bought in Tokyo for the plane trip back home.  Here are 3 small selections of the works by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, the king of the Japanese decadent writers, as well as the famous prize given out every year to a contemporary Japanese writer.   Oddly enough, I never read his works, but I knew of him as the iconic writer of his time.  Strongly influenced by the French writers and poets of the 19tth century (he was born in 1892 and died in 1927), there are traces of that type of impressionistic dynamics in his work.  The longer piece "The Life of a Stupid Man" is a poetic commentary of a young man going under.   Romantic and death obsessed.  What writer could resist such a figure. And readers, an enticing adventure(er) to another world.  Of course, I'm going to seek out and purchase a bigger collection of his stories.   And I do have some of his books in my library.  But untouched by my eyes at this moment....

Tosh Berman
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