This novel is a key work in the Japanese transition from traditional to modern literature. An artist abandons city life to wander into the mountains to meditate, but when he decides to stay at a near-deserted inn he soon finds himself drawn to the daughter of the innkeeper. The artist becomes entranced by her. She reminds him of Millais's portrait of Ophelia drowning and he wants to paint her. Yet, troubled by a certain quality in her expression, he struggles to complete the portrait until he is finally able to penetrate the enigma of her life. Interspersed with philosophies of both East and West, Soseki's writing skillfully blends two very different cultures in this unique representation of the artistic sensibility. Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) was one of the first Japanese writers to be aware of Western culture and has been seen as a counter-reformation figure maintaining the virtues of tradition at a time of intellectual chaos. Soseki is generally acknowledged to have been one of the most important writers of the modern period.""--Times Literary Supplement.