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Botchan

Botchan by Sōseki Natsume
By: (1867-1916)

Botchan is the story of a young math teacher from Tokyo whose first assignment takes him to a middle school in the country side. His arrival there is not very lucky: The pupils are bound to test his perseverance and cheerily comments every one of his perceived missteps. In the teacher's room, he soon finds himself in the middle of an intrigue between the jovial "Porcupine" and the fat "Hubbard Squash" on one side, and the effeminate "Red Shirt" and his follower "Clown" on the other. Will Botchan choose the right side in the end?

Botchan - with morality as the main theme - is one of the most popular novels in Japan. Sōseki Natsume bases the story on his own experiences as teacher in Matsuyama, his first assignment away from Tokyo.

First Page:

BOTCHAN (MASTER DARLING)

By The Late Mr. Kin nosuke Natsume

TRANSLATED By Yasotaro Morri

Revised by J. R. KENNEDY

1919

A NOTE BY THE TRANSLATOR

No translation can expect to equal, much less to excel, the original. The excellence of a translation can only be judged by noting how far it has succeeded in reproducing the original tone, colors, style, the delicacy of sentiment, the force of inert strength, the peculiar expressions native to the language with which the original is written, or whatever is its marked characteristic. The ablest can do no more, and to want more than this will be demanding something impossible. Strictly speaking, the only way one can derive full benefit or enjoyment from a foreign work is to read the original, for any intelligence at second hand never gives the kind of satisfaction which is possible only through the direct touch with the original. Even in the best translated work is probably wanted the subtle vitality natural to the original language, for it defies an attempt, however elaborate, to transmit all there is in the original... Continue reading book >>


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