Novelist Natsume Soseki is the influential figure behind such Japanese classics as “Kokoro,” “Botchan” and “I Am a Cat,” and a recent study of his literary and theoretical works feels fresh and timely as a reflection of not only the author’s time but our own.

In “A Fictional Commons: Natsume Soseki and the Properties of Modern Literature,” scholar Michael Bourdaghs traces how Soseki (1867-1916) reconfigures the idea of humanity’s “commons” — how we divide up our common land and resources as a community. Bourdaghs argues that Soseki imagines, both in his fiction and his literary theory, a different kind of economy and a different way of sharing and belonging within a society as an alternative to what was becoming the economic norm — capitalism.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.