Ryu ?nosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927), the "father of the Japanese
short story," produced hundreds of stories over the course of his
brief and tortured writing career. Akutagawa's work is marked by
his profound knowledge of classical and contemporary literature
from Japan, China, and the West. A strong autobiographical element
also runs through much of his fiction. At the age of 35, Akutagawa
died from an overdose of barbiturates, leaving behind a
groundbreaking corpus of fiction.
Translator- Charles De Wolf is a professor at Keio University. A linguist by background, he has in recent years turned to the study and translation of modern Japanese literature. He has translated numerous stories from Konjaku Monogatari, a twelfth-century folktale collection, including the volume Tales of Days Gone By. His translations have appeared in Japan Airlines' Skyward magazine. De Wolf is also the author of How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese.
The flow of his language is the best feature of Akutagawa's style. Never stagnant, it moves along like a living thing . . . His choice of words is intuitive, natural - and beautiful.--Haruki Murakami
The works of Akutagawa comprise, in the literary sense, an indispensable anatomy of melancholy. He was both traditional and experimental and always compelling and fearless. As Joseph Brodsky said, Akutagawa loved the world strangely. There is no writer quite like him. The translations of Charles De Wolf make for the perfect duet between languages. This is a wonderful collection. --Howard Norman Extravagance and horror are in his work but never in his style, which is always crystal-clear.--Jorge Luis Borges