TEN NIGHTS' DREAMS, by Natsume Soseki. Translated by Takumi Kashima, Kyoko Nonaka, Hideki Oiwa, Horikatsu Kawashima and Katsunori Fujioka. London: Soseki Museum in London, 2000. 64 pp., unpriced.

In 1908, and already an established popular writer, Natsume Soseki turned to more experimental forms of expression. Among these was his accounting of 10 dreams he had purportedly experienced. All are fairly dark. One finds a man killing pigs on the edge of a cliff over which he eventually tumbles; another is about a man being ridden by a blind child who turns out to be the son he killed -- at once his descendant and his ancestor.

Though all 10 are as arbitrary as real dreams are, one is inclined to read further meaning into the collection. One of the reasons for that is that there is nothing more boring than listening to other people's dreams. Some sort of meaning seems to be required. Hence the listener turns psychiatrist, and the critic looks for structure.

Another reason is that it is possible to see the pig dream as a kind of allegory on the problems of the individual in society, and the blind-boy dream as related to questions of identity in the Meiji era.