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Vita Sexualis

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3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  171 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Though banned three weeks after its publication in 1909, Vita Sexualis is far more than a prurient erotic novel. The narrator, a professor of philosophy, wrestles with issues of sexual desire, sex education, and the proper place of sensuality. He tells the story of his own journey into sexual awareness, spanning fifteen years, from his first exposure to erotic woodcuts at ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published December 15th 1989 by Tuttle Publishing (first published 1909)
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Community Reviews

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David

Writer explores his fairly aloof sexuality.

When he was six ... he glimpsed a naughty book over the shoulder of a young virgin.
When he was seven ... a local rustic made shouty reference to his parents' bedroom activities.
When he was ten ... he found some more porn. Started to think about genitals.
Autumn of that year ... overheard local toughs at a festival.
When he was eleven ... moved to Tokyo! Retainer takes him to Yoshiwara for tea (just tea) with a prostitute. Catches a naughty play. Hears ser
...more
Anita
Despite what the title seems to promise, the book itself is mainly a reflection on life, its driving forces and to what degree can sexuality be counted among them.
The body of the novel is short, to the point, and throughout its entirety there are numerous hints that the author questions the validity of several literary trends and social mores of his time. In the very beginning of the book he writes that either the Japanese have lost their minds from all the sex found in contemporary novels or hi
...more
Gertrude & Victoria
Vita Sexualis is a diary of one man's sexual awakening: from awareness, to growing understanding, to consuming desire, and finally, to swift action. These accounts begin at the age of six and end at twenty-one. It is an interesting read, but not essential reading. If you only read one Mori Ogai work, read his popular The Wild Geese. However, if you have a fancy for this kind of thing, then by all means, go for it.
Robert
Fascinating! What was controversial then is tame by today's standards, but that's partly what makes it fascinating: to draw contemporary parallels while reading it. You have to stick with this book til the end. It's the third-person wrap-up at the end that makes it extraordinary.
Meghan Fidler
I admire Mori Ōgai for writing ヰタセクスアリス at a time when the Meiji government was suppressing any literature they believed to contain pornographic materials.
Why they choose to suppress this book, however, escapes my grasp. Perhaps it's just because of the time period I have been steeped in. In my opinion, however, this book has no sex. Even when he has sex (finally, somewhere near the last 20 or so pages), there is no description besides him being carefully led to lay down by a high-class geisha.
...more
kyle
May 31, 2008 kyle added it
Fascinating little novel. Mori was a member of the so-called
Romantic school at that time and reacting against the interest in naturalism, a la Zola, and specifically the overwhelming interest in sexuality as a motive behind human action. The novel is a series ofreflections by a philosophy professor trying to relate all of hismemories of his developing sexuality in order to share with his son, who is at this point very young. The idea of sexual education wasnew at the time and it is this man's wa
...more
aya
An interesting fictional record of the sexual (or non-sexual) life of a young Japanese philosopher in the Meiji era. Ogai was opposed to the Japanese naturalist movement, which he believed put sex and sexuality at the root of all actions. He uses this account to refute this idea- sexuality is portrayed as neither the motivating force in life nor something that one slips into organically.
Although the basic premise of the novel seemed to me both truthful and innovative for its time (1909), I thou
...more
Alice Jennings
The best thing Mori has written. Very easy to read, reads like a autobiography of growing up in changing Japan when homosexuality became questionable rather than honourable- ahead of its time. Considering the significance of the book in Japanese literature and how quick it is too read, its an excellent book to add to the 'read' list
Micaela
Lo de "Vita Sexualis" es muy relativo, o el tratamiento que se le da a la vida sexual del protagonista es muy sutil. Esta muy bueno para conocer los usos y costumbres de los jovenes estudiantes de buena posición en el Tokio de las últimas decadas del siglo XIX.
Kelly
A very important book in the evolution of Japanese literature. It might, however, strike the casual reader as a minor novel.
Yann
Les pages 81 et 87 sont inversées !?
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8076648
Mori Ōgai, pseudonym of Mori Rintarō (born February 17, 1862, Tsuwano, Japan—died July 9, 1922, Tokyo), one of the creators of modern Japanese literature.

The son of a physician of the aristocratic warrior (samurai) class, Mori Ōgai studied medicine, at first in Tokyo and from 1884 to 1888 in Germany. In 1890 he published the story “Maihime” (“The Dancing Girl”), an account closely based on his own
...more
More about Ōgai Mori...
The Wild Geese La bailarina The Historical Fiction of Mori Ogai El intendente Sansho Ogai: Youth and Other Stories

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