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Seemingly cursed with the inability to have children, the couple find themselves having to take responsibility for Sosuke's younger brother Koroku. Oyone's health begins to fail, and news that Oyone's estranged ex-husband Yasui will be visiting nearby finally promotes a sense of crisis in Sosuke and forces him temporarily to quit his life of quiet domesticity. Highly prized for the beauty of its description of the understated love between Sosuke and Oyone, the vel has nevertheless remained in many ways mysterious. An analysis of the vel here by Dr Damian Flanagan casts fresh insights into its complex symbolism and ideas, establishing The Gate as one of the most profound works of the modern age.
Natsume Soseki (1867-1916) is one of the great writers of the modern world. Educated at Tokyo Imperial University, he was sent to England in 1900 as a government scholar. As one of the first Japanese writers to be influenced by Western culture, his various works are read by virtually all Japanese, and contemporary authors in Japan continue to be influenced by his oeuvre.