Natsume Soseki's only coming-of-age novel, Sanshiro depicts the eponymous twenty-three-year-old protagonist as he leaves the sleepy countryside to attend a university in the constantly moving "real world" of Tokyo. Baffled and excited by the traffic, the academics, and-most of all-the women, Sanshiro must find his way among the sophisticates that fill his new life. An incisive social and cultural commentary, Sanshiro is also a subtle portrait of first love, tradition, and modernization, and the idealism of youth against the cynicism of middle age. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) is one of the best-known Japanese authors of the 20th century and considered as the master of psychological fiction. He wrote 14 novels. As well as his works of fiction, his essays, haiku, and kanshi have been influential and are popular even today. Haruki Murakami (in Western order) has written twelve novels, eight volumes of short stories, and over thirty books of nonfiction while also translating well over thirty volumes of American fiction, poetry and nonfiction since his prizewinning debut in 1979 at the age of thirty. Known in the English-speaking world primarily for his novels A Wild Sheep Chase, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore. His works have been translated into more than forty languages. Jay Rubin has translated Soseki's novel The Miner and Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, After the quake, and After Dark. He is the author of Injurious to Public Morals: Writers and the Meiji State and Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words, and the editor of Modern Japanese Writers. He began his study of Japanese at the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in 1970, and taught Japanese literature at the University of Washington and at Harvard University, where he is now an emeritus professor.