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The stories included in this classic collection include: In a Grove , a psychologically sophisticated tale about murder, rape, and suicide; Rashomon , the story of a thief scared into honesty by an encounter with a ghoul; The Martyr tells the story of silent suffering in Christian Nagasaki; and Kesa and Morito is the story of man driven to kill someone he doesn't hate by a lover whom he doesn't love. There are enough Swiftian touches in Akutagawa to show his hatred of stupidity, greed, hypocrisy, and the rising jingoism of the day. But Akutagawa's artistic integrity kept him from joining his contemporaries in the easy social criticism or naive introspection...What he did was question the values of his society, dramatize the complexities of human psychology, and study, with a Zen taste for paradox, the balance of illusion and reality. - Howard Hibbett.