Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Korean Literature

I've been waiting for this anthology of Korean short stories to arrive for some time - and today it came. The cover is striking and slightly odd, and flicking through I notice there is a story titled 'The Shaman Painting' and I'm wondering if this might be it.


I have to confess that I have only very recently, since my explorations of China, realised that Korea is actually on the northeast coast of China, on the way to Japan - and not, say, as I perhaps would have guessed if asked, somewhere to the southwest, part of that conglomeration of little countries near Thailand.

A brief look at the introduction to Modern Korean Fiction tells me that it used to be (part of ) occupied* by Japan fairly recently, and I now know that it is a country divided, like Germany used to be divided, into a Communist northern part with an eccentric government, and a more Capitalist southern part. So I guess there will be the same sorts of tensions, which I expect will be evoked in this collection of work since it spans the whole of the twentieth century. I'm hoping by reading it that I shall get some sense of the Korean psyche - from the writers that live there.

*Corrected later - see comments

4 Comments:

Anonymous Charles Montgomery said...

If this interests you in Korean literature, you might also like "Land of Exile."

If you get even MORE interested, http://www.ktlit.com covers all aspects of translated modern fiction

/Shameless Plug

Thu Sep 30, 12:31:00 pm  
Blogger Korean Focus said...

Hi, your post came up in a search I recently did for Korean literature, and I hope it's OK if I clarify your statement that "it [Korea] used to be part of Japan."

Korean was never part of Japan. Korea was under a brutal forced occupation by Japan from August 1910 to August 1945. Korean people, culture and language are distinct from those of Japan.

Fri Oct 01, 01:55:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thank you Charles - useful-looking site! Can you recommend any good witty or weird Korean literature in translation? I am looking for a striking and unusual voice.

Fri Oct 01, 07:11:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Korean Focus: I shall alter my blog post accordingly.

Fri Oct 01, 07:24:00 am  

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