KYOKUTEI BAKIN. [SOMETIMES CALLED TAKIZAWA BAKIN]. YOSHITOSHI. - [Muso byoe kocho monogatari - A Dreamer's Butterfly Tale].
Tokyo, Haishi Shuppansha 1882 [Meiji 15]. Two volumes 225x155mm, publisher's embossed yellow wrappers; a half-page, ten double page and five full page woodcut illustrations by Yoshitoshi. A tiny bit of nibbling to a couple of page edges, a good fresh copy. ¶ Bakin's imaginary voyage fantasia was first published in 1809-10 and this is, I deduce, the second edition, revised or corrected from Bakin's own copy of the first edition; the first with Yoshitoshi's illustrations. Further editions followed thick and fast but apart from a partial translation in The Chrysanthemum (Yokohama 1882) I can't find an English version exists - particularly frustrating as Yoshitoshi's illustrations are magnetic. The surreal and grotesque are always hard to resist - and Yoshitoshi was a master among masters - and I don't think I've ever seen a better illustration, a better description, of the world of an opium smoker. The best account of the book I've found is in a 1909 letter from Minakata Kumagusu to the publisher Gowans & Gray who had approached him for a translation of a Bakin work of his choice. He chose this, "the only book that ever took me out of bed 30 minutes sooner than I wished to get up", and described it as something like Gulliver's Travels in which a man, decided there is nothing more to learn in his own land, determines to travel the world. He is told the means - a kite - in a vision and sets off to explore the lands of Infancy, Lust (high, medium and low grades), Drunkenness, Greed, Trouble, Sorrows, Falsehood and Happiness. Unfortunately Gowan & Gray wouldn't spring for Kumagusu's fee and that was the end of that. At least we have Yoshitoshi.AUD 750.00 [Appr.: EURO 530.25 US$ 573.17 | £UK 462.25 | JP¥ 63697] Book number 9346
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