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The Wild Goose

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BY MORI OGAI
TRANSLATED WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY BURTON WATSON
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN: CENTER FOR JAPANESE STUDIES
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, 1995
XIV + 166 PAGES

Many of us were aware that Burton Watson, the gifted translator of Chinese and Japanese, had a manuscript in his drawer ever since excerpts from The Wild Goose (Gan; 1911–13) appeared forty years ago in the well-known anthology of modern Japanese literature edited by Donald Keene. Now the manuscript has appeared in full, thanks to the University of Michigan’s Center for Japanese Studies. This is indeed a welcome event. Although another translation of this novel has been in existence since 1959, the version by Watson, who is best known to students of modern Japanese literature for his supple rendering of Oda Sakunosuke’s Stories of Osaka Life, is surer and more graceful, and should go a long way to help secure abroad some of the enduring reputation Mori Ogai has enjoyed at home.

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