I Want to Learn How to Think Beyond Academic Disciplines
The Color of the Cat's Hair in Natsume Soseki's I Am a Cat
The first novel by Natsume Soseki (born as Kinnosuke), one of the representative authors of modern Japanese literature, is I Am a Cat, which was published in a haiku magazine Hototogisu in January, 1905. The novel begins with the sentences: “I am a cat. As yet I have no name.” Even though he is kept as a pet by a family, they do not give him a name.
The ending of the novel, too, shows a strong will to remain nameless thus: “I shall stay in this teacher's house as a nameless cat for the rest of my life.” If we turn to his cat friends, the “names” they are given are only the colors of their houses, as in “Black” owned by the ricksha driver, “White” at the military officer's house, and “Calico” at the lawyer's house.
This lecture will reveal how the colors of these cats' hair invite I Am a Cat to the domain of world literature in the context of the intersection between literary history and art history.
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