Mandarins: Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Translated by Charles De Wolf. New York: Archipelago Books, 2007, 255 pp., $16.00 (paper)

Good, new and much needed translations of the stories of Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) have recently begun to appear. Last year there was the Penguin edition of 18 stories, translated by Jay Rubin, and now comes this Archipelago edition of 15, translated by Charles De Wolf.

Both contain works never before translated into English. The Rubin collection (reviewed in this column on Aug. 20, 2006) contained nine of such, and this new De Wolf collection contains three: "An Enlightened Husband," "An Evening Conversation" and "Winter."

In addition, the two collections do not much duplicate each other. The translators share only two late works: "The Life of a Fool" and "Cogwheels." The interested reader will need both volumes because of this lack of duplication and because of the excellence of the translations themselves.