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


Anonymous Charles Montgomery said...

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

If you get even MORE interested, covers all aspects of translated modern fiction

/Shameless Plug

Thu Sept 30, 12:31:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous 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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