I Am a Cat
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Written over the course of 1904-6, Soseki's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the follies of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.
The New Yorker called it "a nonchalant string of anecdotes and wisecracks, told by a fellow who doesn't have a name, and has never caught a mouse, and isn't much good for anything except watching human beings in action..."
extremely undignified. The visiting card informs my master that his latest visitor is Police Detective Yoshida Torazo-from the Metropolitan Police Office. Standing beside Torazo- is a tall young man in his mid-twenties, smartly dressed in a kimono ensemble of fine striped cotton. Quaintly enough, this personable young fellow is like my master in that, similarly silent, he also stands with his hands kept tucked inside his robe. The face strikes me as vaguely familiar and, looking at him a little
great pride to realize that I can so dextrously maintain an upright position, and the revelation of a third great truth is thus vouchsafed me: that in conditions of exceptional danger one can surpass one’s normal level of achievement. This is the real meaning of Special Providence. Sustained by Special Providence, I am fighting for dear life against that demonic rice-cake when I hear footsteps. Someone seems to be approaching. Thinking it would be fatal to be caught in this predicament, I
rice-cake and yanked it out of my mouth. I am not quite as feeble-fanged as Coldmoon, but I really did think my entire front toothwork was about to break off. The pain was indescribable. The teeth embedded in the rice-cake are being pitilessly wrenched. You can’t imagine what it was like. It was then that the fourth enlightenment burst upon me: that all comfort is achieved through hardship. When at last I came to myself and looked around at a world restored to normality, all the members of the
screams of indignation. It was, perhaps, an understandable reaction in a rejected philosopher. When in ancient times a truly great man appeared, all the whole world flocked to gather under his banner. Which was no doubt very gratifying, certainly sufficiently gratifying for the great man in question to feel no need to resort to pen and paper with all that virulence one finds in Nietzsche. The superhuman characters portrayed in Homer’s epics and in the Ballad of Chevy Chase are not demon-driven.
got to that.” “Interesting,” says Coldmoon with a grin. “How about this for the missing line?” improvises Waverhouse. “‘Two orifices dim.’” Whereupon Coldmoon offers, “‘So deep no hairs appear.’” They were thus thoroughly enjoying themselves by proposing wilder and wilder lines when from the street beyond the hedge came the voices of several people shouting “Where’s that terra-cotta badger? Come on out, you terra-cotta badger. Terra-cotta badger! Yah!” Both my master and Waverhouse look