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Botchan, by Natsume Soseki

Botchan, by Natsume Soseki

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Published by lordmakubex
A Japanese Classic from gutenberg.org
A Japanese Classic from gutenberg.org

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Published by: lordmakubex on Oct 19, 2008
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Botchan (Master Darling)by Mr. Kin-nosuke Natsume, trans. by Yasotaro MorriCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check thecopyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributingthis or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this ProjectGutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit theheader without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about theeBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights and restrictions inhow the file may be used. You can also find out about how to make adonation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: Botchan (Master Darling)Author: Mr. Kin-nosuke Natsume, trans. by Yasotaro MorriRelease Date: September, 2005 [EBook #8868][Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on August 17, 2003]Edition: 10Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BOTCHAN (MASTER DARLING) ***Produced by David Starnerand the Online Distributed Proofreading TeamBOTCHAN (MASTER DARLING)By The Late Mr. Kin-nosuke NatsumeTRANSLATED By Yasotaro MorriRevised by J. R. KENNEDY
1919A NOTE BY THE TRANSLATORNo translation can expect to equal, much less to excel, the original.The excellence of a translation can only be judged by noting how far ithas succeeded in reproducing the original tone, colors, style, thedelicacy of sentiment, the force of inert strength, the peculiarexpressions native to the language with which the original is written,or whatever is its marked characteristic. The ablest can do no more, andto want more than this will be demanding something impossible. Strictlyspeaking, the only way one can derive full benefit or enjoyment from aforeign work is to read the original, for any intelligence atsecond-hand never gives the kind of satisfaction which is possible onlythrough the direct touch with the original. Even in the best translatedwork is probably wanted the subtle vitality natural to the originallanguage, for it defies an attempt, however elaborate, to transmit allthere is in the original. Correctness of diction may be there, butspontaneity is gone; it cannot be helped.The task of the translator becomes doubly hazardous in case oftranslating a European language into Japanese, or vice versa. Betweenany of the European languages and Japanese there is no visible kinshipin word-form, significance, grammatical system, rhetorical arrangements.It may be said that the inspiration of the two languages is totallydifferent. A want of similarity of customs, habits, traditions, nationalsentiments and traits makes the work of translation all the moredifficult. A novel written in Japanese which had attained nationalpopularity might, when rendered into English, lose its captivatingvividness, alluring interest and lasting appeal to the reader.These remarks are made not in way of excuse for any faulty dictions thatmay be found in the following pages. Neither are they made out ofpersonal modesty nor of a desire to add undue weight to the presentwork. They are made in the hope that whoever is good enough to gothrough the present translation will remember, before he may venture tomake criticisms, the kind and extent of difficulties besetting him inhis attempts so as not to judge the merit of the original by thistranslation. Nothing would afford the translator a greater pain than anyunfavorable comment on the original based upon this translation. Ifthere be any deserving merits in the following pages the credit is dueto the original. Any fault found in its interpretation or in the Englishversion, the whole responsibility is on the translator.For the benefit of those who may not know the original, it must bestated that "Botchan" by the late Mr. K. Natsume was an epoch-makingpiece of work. On its first appearance, Mr. Natsume's place and name asthe foremost in the new literary school were firmly established. He hadwritten many other novels of more serious intent, of heavier thoughtsand of more enduring merits, but it was this "Botchan" that secured himthe lasting fame. Its quaint style, dash and vigor in its narrationappealed to the public who had become somewhat tired of the stereotypedsort of manner with which all stories had come to be handled.In its simplest understanding, "Botchan" may be taken as an episode inthe life of a son born in Tokyo, hot-blooded, simple-hearted, pure as
crystal and sturdy as a towering rock, honest and straight to a fault,intolerant of the least injustice and a volunteer ever ready to championwhat he considers right and good. Children may read it as a "story ofman who tried to be honest." It is a light, amusing and, at the nametime, instructive story, with no tangle of love affairs, no scheme ofblood-curdling scenes or nothing startling or sensational in the plot orcharacters. The story, however, may be regarded as a biting sarcasm on ahypocritical society in which a gang of instructors of dark character ata middle school in a backwoods town plays a prominent part. The hero ofthe story is made a victim of their annoying intrigues, but finallycomes out triumphant by smashing the petty red tapism, knocking down thesham pretentions and by actual use of the fist on the Head Instructorand his henchman.The story will be found equally entertaining as a means of studying thepeculiar traits of the native of Tokyo which are characterised by theirquick temper, dashing spirit, generosity and by their readiness toresist even the lordly personage if convinced of their own justness, orto kneel down even to a child if they acknowledge their own wrong.Incidently the touching devotion of the old maid servant Kiyo to thehero will prove a standing reproach to the inconstant, unfaithfulservants of which the number is ever increasing these days in Tokyo. Thestory becomes doubly interesting by the fact that Mr. K. Natsume, whenquite young, held a position of teacher of English at a middle schoolsomewhere about the same part of the country described in the story,while he himself was born and brought up in Tokyo.It may be added that the original is written in an autobiographicalstyle. It is profusely interladed with spicy, catchy colloquials patentto the people of Tokyo for the equals of which we may look to therattling speeches of notorious Chuck Conners of the Bowery of New York.It should be frankly stated that much difficulty was experienced ingetting the corresponding terms in English for those catchy expressions.Strictly speaking, some of them have no English equivalents. Care hasbeen exercised to select what has been thought most appropriate in thejudgment or the translator in converting those expressions into Englishbut some of them might provoke disapproval from those of the "cultured"class with "refined" ears. The slangs in English in this translationwere taken from an American magazine of world-wide reputation editor ofwhich was not afraid to print of "damn" when necessary, by scorning thetimid, conventional way of putting it as "d--n." If the propriety ofprinting such short ugly words be questioned, the translator is sorry tosay that no means now exists of directly bringing him to account for hemet untimely death on board the Lusitania when it was sunk by the Germansubmarine.Thanks are due to Mr. J. R. Kennedy, General Manager, and Mr. HenrySatoh, Editor-in-Chief, both of the Kokusai Tsushin-sha (theInternational News Agency) of Tokyo and a host of personal friends ofthe translator whose untiring assistance and kind suggestions have madethe present translation possible. Without their sympathetic interests,this translation may not have seen the daylight.Tokyo, September, 1918.BOTCHAN (MASTER DARLING)

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