Hell Screen has ratings and 63 reviews. Paquita Maria said: Somebody turn the lights on, please. My brain is a dark and dreary place after reading th. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Hell Screen by Akutagawa Ryunosuke. HELL SCREEN. BY RYUNOSUKE AKUTAGAWA 1. I am certain there has never been anyone lie o!r “reat #or$ o% &oria’a(an$ I $o!bt there ever ‘ill be another).
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Return to Book Page. Paperback58 pages. Published by Penguin Books first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Hell Screenplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Mar 12, Paquita Maria Sanchez sxreen it it was amazing Shelves: Somebody turn the lights on, please.
My brain is a dark and dreary place after reading these two stories. It is cold, the pipes are dripping a foul-scented liquid, and the wind a,utagawa screaming curses at me. To boot, there are spiders. You know, if that tells you anything. This world is hard, man. The story involves a villainous akutagawx, a more sociopathic Scrooge, whose only love in the world–aside from and to a lesser extent than his art–is his kind-hearted daughter.
This charming and visually stunning girl works in the Emperor’s palace, and in that time has managed, despite her lowly status, to ingratiate herself to this young Lord by showing kindness to an abused monkey, and adopting him as her devoted pet.
Our unreliable narrator, another lady in waiting in the Lord’s palace, attempts to present the argument that this is the extent of the good Lord’s thoughts on the painter’s daughter, despite having come upon the young lady late one night in a panicked and disheveled state Akutagawa likes to leave little oubliettes of speculative horror in his already dark castles.
He’s not just going to pass out the answers like a litter of kittens or anything. He’s going to make you work for it a bit, so get ready to grind those gears when you read him.
Hell Screen, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa | Blogging for a Good Book
Back to the painter, the Lord has requested that he paint on a screen a searing, elaborately detailed image of hell which, as described, materialized in my mind as what would have occurred if Dante and Bosch had collaborated on the planning for panel three of The Helll of Earthly Delights.
In pursuit of absolute perfection, the diabolical painter abuses and shames his various apprentices in a number of vile ways involving chains and snakes and even one of these guys. The painter requires one final touch for his masterpiece, and makes an extravagant request to the Lord which is perversely granted. Tragedy ensues, lies are told, people suffer, the heart is sliced open and the depths of human depravity and self-obsession are prodded and explored, and eeriness and feelings of dread and cynicism fill you to the brim.
Bleak stuff, there’s no doubt. The Spider’s Thread is a much shorter, but also quite Dante-esque story plucked straight from Hel folklore, and involves a criminal and all around bad guy sentenced to one of the deepest rings of hell. One day, the Buddha summons the knowledge that this man had at one point in his life neglected to crush a spider after realizing that it was, like himself, a being deserving of life.
Touched by this, Shakyamuni casts a thread of webbing down to the damned man so that he may attempt to climb out of hell and up into paradise. Of course, the thief is not the only man suffering in the seas of compacted sinners, and the terrifyingly solipsistic survival instinct of the human species once again ensues pandemonium like it’s a goddamned Who concert. Madness and sadness are heaped on your already overfilled plate. This is a warning, folks. Akutagawa takes you down, and then down a little deeper.
And then kicks you while you are down, because he’s just really mean like that. I think I love him. View all comments. Aug 25, Mb rated it really liked it. Jan 13, Liz Janet rated it really liked it. His most beautiful stories tend to take place in a dark world, that lies between reality, myth, and fiction, or all three combined.
They are tragic, and involve complex characters that rank from sociopaths to nice old ladies, but he webs all types so beautifully and perfectly, that suddenly, a short story about them is not enough.
This work contains two stories, Hell Screen and The Spider’s Threadboth dealing with villanous types, reedemable or not. In Hell Screen we get the story of an artist, whose only love aside art, is his daughter something might have happened to her, but there is no definite answer. Then the Lord of Horikawa wishes for this painter to do a depiction of Hell, and he does.
But his art comes with a prize, from the mistreatment of his apprentices to extreme circumstances, to someone’s death. Is it a story solely based on artistic obsession or is it something more? Most likely something more. In The Spider’s Thread there is a criminal, who die to one act of kindness is given a chance by Buddha to make into Heaven, by climbing to it on a spider thread. He is not the only one to notice this form of escape, and what he does next will define his end, and will show a nature of other characters, not only him.
For an introduction to this genius, this is a perfect sample of two of his greatest stories, but I recommend everyone read his collections, much more to read there, and so much beauty, and carnage, and knowledge.
Apr 04, Greg rated it it was amazing Shelves: The two stories that make up this short book in the Penguin Mini Modern Classics series were a pleasant surprise. I had never read anything by Ryunosuke Akutagawa before so I did not know what to expect. Despite these stories having been first published inI felt them to be contemporary in style, although this may partly be due to the work of the translator, Jay Rubin.
Both stories – ‘Hell screen’ and ‘The spider thread’ – can be described as horror in a medieval setting, so they appealed a The two stories that make up this short book in the Penguin Mini Modern Classics series were a pleasant surprise.
Both stories – ‘Hell screen’ and ‘The spider thread’ – can be described as horror in a medieval setting, so they appealed as much to the horror fan as to the historian in me. The stories deal with pride, arrogance and selfishness and especially cruelty – themes that refer not only akufagawa the protagonists of the stories but also, more pervasively, to the wider social milieu of medieval Japan.
This alutagawa societal cruelty as well as arrogance and selfishness can be seen in ‘Hell Screen’ when the narrator recalls how, ‘when construction of Nagara Bridge seemed to be running counter to the will of a local deity, [the local lord] offered up a favourite boy attendent as a human sacrifice to be buried at the foot of a pillar’ p. That hapless boy would not be one to cross the new bridge, unlike his lord. Implied cruelty can be seen when the protagonist of ‘Hell Screen’ – a painter – is mentioned as having gone out ‘specially to inspect a corpse lying on the roadside – the kind of sight from which any ordinary person would recoil – and spent hours sitting before it, sketching its rotting face and limbs without akhtagawa a hair’ p.
Also, there is this hint of the cruelty of war: He was said to have survived starvation by eating human flesh, after which he had the strength to tear out antlers zkutagawa a living stag with his bare hands. This implies, of course, that while cruelty might have been commonplace in medieval Japan, it was scree necessarily accepted as the norm by all Sxreen. Overall, while I preferred ‘Hell screen’ to ‘The spider web’, I liked Akutagawa’s two stories for their rich description and for the strangeness of the narrative, as well as for their accessibility to the 21st-century reader.
I will probably explore more of Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s writing in future. View all 4 comments. Dec 31, Niloofar Shirazian rated it it was akuragawa.
Mar 18, Aldrin rated it really liked it. Dubbed Penguin Mini Modern Classics, the collection gathers novellas and short stories from fifty dignitaries of world literature, including Italo Calvino, Angela Carter, H. Scott Fitzgerald, and Frans Kafka. True to their literary form and moniker, the Penguin Mini Modern Classics are available as tiny pocket books sporting a look similar to the current Penguin Modern Classics design by Jim Stoddart sans the cover photographs.
Also, each of the books is so short and engaging that it can be easily read in one sitting — or less. Such is the case for the Penguin Mini Modern Classics book Hell Screenwhich contains a couple of hard-hitting short stories by the father of the Japanese short story himself, Ryunosuke Akutagawa. The title story is a chilling tale of obsession involving a painter named Yoshihide. Known for his frighteningly realistic visual representations of fantastical scenes as much as for his self-importance, he is commissioned by his longtime employer, the Lord of Horikawa, to compose a folding screen depicting the eight Buddhist hells.
In one instance, Yoshihide has one of his unfortunate apprentices stripped of his clothes, bound in chains, and tortured by a wild, enormous bird. Understandably, one may have a sneaking suspicion that behind it, like the titular painting, the weaving of the story itself was commissioned by the powerful lord, if only to have himself exonerated of charges of assault against the supposed object of his desire. I read this book as part of my renewed admiration for the land of the rising sun and cat-eared girls.
The second story is mostly a short parable, but both have to do with Hell. The first story centers around an unpleasant painter that’ll go to any lengths to create perfection, and the sacrifice he makes at the climax, while somewhat predictable, is effective and shocking.
At certain points I was in awe of the vividness of the prose as it attempted to capture your senses, and some sequences remai I read this book as part of my renewed admiration for the land of the rising sun and cat-eared girls. At certain points I was in awe of the vividness of the prose as it attempted to capture your senses, and some sequences remain clear in my mind.
That one was published inand Helo book in Did Huysmans’ reach his desk, or Hell was simply in the air during that time?
Although I didn’t expect to flinch at Hell Alutagawa ‘s climax, it did get to me. Both also share a certain acreen vibe, and I’m guessing they would have screenn postmodernism to a similar degree as I do. Jul 14, Tim Pendry rated it it was amazing Shelves: I have only read ‘Hell Screen’ twice and not the second story in this collection so I can only comment on that. In short, it is a superb and horrific tale of artistic obsession. Famous as the author of ‘Rashomon’, this work haunts as it sets the formal judicial cruelty of power alongside the blind obsessive cruelty of the artist.
The former finally tests the latter by destroying a human love and the artist responds with ecstasy as it enables him to fulfil his project. In fact, there is not much I have only read ‘Hell Screen’ twice and not the second story in this collection so I can only comment on that. In fact, there is not much to say about this work akutagzwa it stands entirely for itself, filled with ambiguities and suggestion, perfect in fact.
And, while the debt to Western symbolism is clear, the sensibility is fully Japanese with a sense of the supernatural hovering just at the edge of the natural. Dcreen 02, Zee rated it it was amazing Shelves: For a list of the 50 titles in this series visit my blog In celebration of their 50th birthday, Penguin Modern Classics launched a series of 50 mini books to honour and bring to light the lesser known works of famous authors like Samuel Beckett, Truman Capote and Vladimir Nabokov.