Ryūnosuke Akutagawa: Background information when reading First Person Singular

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First Person Singular

by Haruki Murakami

First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami X
First Person Singular by Haruki Murakami
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  • Published:
    Apr 2021, 256 pages

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Lisa Butts
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Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

This article relates to First Person Singular

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa In the short story "With the Beatles" from his collection First Person Singular, Haruki Murakami refers to the writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. Akutagawa was born in 1892 in Tokyo's Kyōbashi district. His mother was mentally ill, and his father was unable to take care of him, so he was sent to live with an uncle. Often sickly as a child, he became a voracious reader, a habit that continued into adulthood and laid the foundation for his writing career. At 21, Akutagawa began studying English literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo and founded a literary journal with friends called Shinshichō ("New Thought"). They published translations of foreign writers in addition to their own original work.

In 1915, Akutagawa published a story called "Rashōmon" in the literary journal Teikoku Bungaku. The story is set in Kyoto (and named for the city's southern gate) in the 12th century and revolves around two characters who are forced by their impoverished circumstances ...

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