Murder in the Age of Enlightenment

Murder in the Age of Enlightenment

Essential Stories

Ryunosuke Akutagawa


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A stylishly original collection of seven newly translated stories from the iconic Japanese writer

The stories in this fantastical, unconventional collection are subtly wrought depictions of the darkness of our desires. From an isolated bamboo grove, to a lantern festival in Tokyo, to the Emperor's court, they offer glimpses into moments of madness, murder, and obsession. Vividly translated by Bryan Karetnyk, they unfold in elegant, sometimes laconic, always gripping prose.

Akutagawa's stories are characterised by their stylish originality; they are stories to be read again and again.


Ryunosuke Akutagawa:
Ryunosuke Akutagawa was one of Japan's leading literary figures in the Taisho period in Japan. Regarded as the father of the Japanese short story, he produced over 150 in his short lifetime and is renowned as a pre-eminent prose stylist and modernist whose work ranges from the fantastical and supernatural to the psychological and formally unconventional. Haunted by the fear that he would inherit his mother's madness, his mental health deteriorated rapidly towards the end of his life and he committed suicide aged 35 by taking an overdose of barbital.