“Ryunosuke Akutagawa: (1892-1927) Japanese short-story writer. Akutagawa’s skill in the short story led to the 1935 special prize in his name for aspiring writers. Known for taking forgotten tales from medieval collections and imbuing them with a modern psychology, Akutagawa’s stories are often eerie and bizarre yet frighteningly realistic. His best-known stories, ‘Yabu no naka’ (1922; tr ‘In a Grove,’ 1952) and ‘Rashomon‘ (1915; tr 1952), inspired Kurosawa’s 1950 film Rashomon. Akutagawa excelled at exploring the dark and twisted channels of the human spirit, but his later autobiographical works reveal the darkening despair such exploration invited. Akutagawa committed suicide in 1927. Among his autobiographical works are ‘Aru aho no issho’ (1927; tr ‘A Fool’s Life,’ 1970) and his posthumous ‘Haguruma’ (1927; tr ‘Cogwheels,’ 1982).”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
“The summer grasses:
Of mighty warlords’ visions
All that they have left.”
Matsuo Basho, Poem (translation by Bernard Lionel Einbond)
Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Himalayas. This document is a half-page in length (so there are two on every page) with a two-sentence reading and three comprehension questions. Basically, an introduction to the significant and dramatic geographic features of this mountain range in Asia.
If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.