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Modern Korean Fiction: An Anthology

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To represent the past century of Korean fiction, this definitive collection extends beyond familiar writers, challenges cultural norms, and crosses political borders. By inlcuding stories from neglected female, North Korean, and wolbuk writers (those who migrated to the North after 1945 and whose works were widely banned in South Korea) and by bringing politically engaged To represent the past century of Korean fiction, this definitive collection extends beyond familiar writers, challenges cultural norms, and crosses political borders. By inlcuding stories from neglected female, North Korean, and wolbuk writers (those who migrated to the North after 1945 and whose works were widely banned in South Korea) and by bringing politically engaged works together with experimental ones, this anthology articulates the ruptures and resolutions that have makred the peninsula. From sketches of desperate peasants in straitened circumstances to fast-moving, visceral tales of contemporary South Korea, the works in this collection bear witness to the dramatic transformations and events in twentieth-century Korean history, including Japanese colonial rule, civil war, and economic modernization in the South. The writers explore these developments through a variety of literary and political lenses, revealing wtih precision and poignancy their impact on Korean society and the lives of ordinary Koreans. This anthology includes an introduction, which synthesizes the key developments in modern Korean literature, and a comprehensive bibliography of Korean fiction in translation.


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To represent the past century of Korean fiction, this definitive collection extends beyond familiar writers, challenges cultural norms, and crosses political borders. By inlcuding stories from neglected female, North Korean, and wolbuk writers (those who migrated to the North after 1945 and whose works were widely banned in South Korea) and by bringing politically engaged To represent the past century of Korean fiction, this definitive collection extends beyond familiar writers, challenges cultural norms, and crosses political borders. By inlcuding stories from neglected female, North Korean, and wolbuk writers (those who migrated to the North after 1945 and whose works were widely banned in South Korea) and by bringing politically engaged works together with experimental ones, this anthology articulates the ruptures and resolutions that have makred the peninsula. From sketches of desperate peasants in straitened circumstances to fast-moving, visceral tales of contemporary South Korea, the works in this collection bear witness to the dramatic transformations and events in twentieth-century Korean history, including Japanese colonial rule, civil war, and economic modernization in the South. The writers explore these developments through a variety of literary and political lenses, revealing wtih precision and poignancy their impact on Korean society and the lives of ordinary Koreans. This anthology includes an introduction, which synthesizes the key developments in modern Korean literature, and a comprehensive bibliography of Korean fiction in translation.

30 review for Modern Korean Fiction: An Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tamarin

    მოთხრობები კარგია . ჩინური სტილი იგრძნობა ასევე იაპონურიც რამდენიმეში. რიგირი კორეელების ცხოვრებაზეა ომის შემდეგ პერიოდში ჩემთვის ძალიან საინტერესო იყო მაგრამ ერთი დიდი მინუსი ჰქონდა: რატომღაც ყველა ქალი თითქმის უარყოფითადაა გამოყვანილი როგორც მივხვდი ამ პერიოდში ქალი თითქმის არაფერს წარმოადგენდა და უგულვებელყოფილი იყო მათი სურვილები და არ შეეძლოთ კაცის გარეშე რაიმესთვის მიეღწიათ ამიტომ ხან ვის ეტენებიან ხან ვის. თან ეს არაა მხოლოდ ერთი მოთხრობა თითქმის ყველაში იგივეა იმედია ეს რაიმე მცდარ წარმო მოთხრობები კარგია . ჩინური სტილი იგრძნობა ასევე იაპონურიც რამდენიმეში. რიგირი კორეელების ცხოვრებაზეა ომის შემდეგ პერიოდში ჩემთვის ძალიან საინტერესო იყო მაგრამ ერთი დიდი მინუსი ჰქონდა: რატომღაც ყველა ქალი თითქმის უარყოფითადაა გამოყვანილი როგორც მივხვდი ამ პერიოდში ქალი თითქმის არაფერს წარმოადგენდა და უგულვებელყოფილი იყო მათი სურვილები და არ შეეძლოთ კაცის გარეშე რაიმესთვის მიეღწიათ ამიტომ ხან ვის ეტენებიან ხან ვის. თან ეს არაა მხოლოდ ერთი მოთხრობა თითქმის ყველაში იგივეა იმედია ეს რაიმე მცდარ წარმოდგენას არ მიქმნის კორეელი ქალების შესახებ. რაც შეეხება თარგმანს აშკარად ხან ინგლისურიდან თარგმნიდა ხან რუსულიდან სახელები თითქმის სულ არასწორადაა ასევე წოდებები რომლითან ერთმანეთს მიმართავენ კორეელები. რა თქმა უნდა კულტურის შესახებ თუ არაფერი იცი ვერ მიხვდები მაგრამ ჯობდა ვინმე მცოდნესთვის მიეცათ წასაკითხად სანამ გამოცემას დააპირებდნენ. მომავალში იმედია გაითვალისწინებენ ამას. მაინც მადლობელი ვარ რომ გამოიცა ეს წიგნი და პირველი ჯერისთვის არაუშავს

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    This is an excellent anthology which shows the overall flow of modern Korean literature. (Modern Korean literature having begun in roughly 1910, give or take a few years.) Before I start, two complaints: the transliteration, in particular of names, is noticeably dated - and, to be quite honest, makes the work hard to read. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that the editors made the mistake of loading the anthology with works from the colonial period (roughly 1920-1950) and the industrialization p This is an excellent anthology which shows the overall flow of modern Korean literature. (Modern Korean literature having begun in roughly 1910, give or take a few years.) Before I start, two complaints: the transliteration, in particular of names, is noticeably dated - and, to be quite honest, makes the work hard to read. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that the editors made the mistake of loading the anthology with works from the colonial period (roughly 1920-1950) and the industrialization period (the 1970s). There wasn't a single story about the uprisings or unstable political situation of the early 1960s (unless you count Choe Yun's "The Gray Snowman", which was written over 30 years later), or the 1980 Gwangju Massacre. How on Earth did that happen? A little more of an even distribution would have been nice. This is how the anthology breaks down. 1924 - Hyun Jingeon, A Lucky Day 1925 - Kim Dongin, Potatoes 1936 - Yi Tae-jun, Crows; Kim Tong-ni, The Shaman Painting; Kim Yujung, The White Rabbit; Yi Sang, Wings; Lee Hyo-seok, When the Buckwheat Blooms 1938 - Chae Manshik, My Innocent Uncle 1948 - Choe Chong-hui, The Ritual at the Well 1953 - Hwang Sunwon, Coarse Sand 1955 - Lee Hocheol, Far From Home 1965 - Kim Seungok, Seoul: 1964, Winter 1971 - Choi Inho, Another Man's Room; Kim Pukhyang, The Son 1975 - Cho Sehui, Knifeblade 1976 - Choe Illam, Ballad 1977 - Yi Chong-jun, Footprints in the Snow 1979 - Yi Munyol, The Old Hatter 1980 - Park Wansuh, Mother's Hitching Post 1983 - Oh Junghee, Wayfarer 1992 - Choe Yun, The Gray Snowman 1997 - Kim Young-ha, Lizard 6 stories from the 1930s, 6 from the 1970s, and only one from the 1960s and two from the 1980s? How did that happen? Anyway, a quick recap of the more memorable stories. I would say my favorites (in no particular order) were Choe Yun's "The Gray Snowman," Kim Seungok's "Seoul: 1964, Winter", Kim Tong-ni's "The Shaman Painting", and Hwang Sunwon's "Coarse Sand." "The Gray Snowman" deals with socialism in (what I would guess to be) the 1960s, but which may have been as late as the 1980s. "Seoul: 1964, Winter" describes the events of a small group of newly acquainted men on an evening in the middle of winter. "The Shaman Painting" was a true stand-out - a description of the spread of religion and modernity in a small town. I would say by far my favorite story of the lot was Hwang Sunwon's "Coarse Sand"; a description of a boy's relationship with his mother, with a startling conclusion. If I were to edit this collection, I would toss out Kim Yujung's "The White Rabbit" (a funny trifle of a story, it doesn't add much overall), Yi Sang's "Wings" (a fevered description of a man's relationship with his wife), and Lee Hyo-seok's "When The Buckwheat Blooms" (a slow-paced description of a man who goes town to town, selling items in market places) - both of these stories were, of course, very good, and truly two of the most important works of modern Korean literature, they simply don't need to be present in this anthology. Not when they are in every other anthology. And Korean class. And available for free online. A few other interesting stories were Hyun Jingeon's "A Lucky Day" - a mixture of hope and sorrow as a man earns money and avoids returning home to his family. Choe Inho's "Another Man's Room" and Kim Youngha's "Lizard" were reminiscent of one another; a ghost, or maybe a spirit, or maybe a lizard - sex, passion, and a description of menial things. Kim Pukhyang's "The Son" is particularly interesting, in that it is the lone work of North Korean literature available in this anthology; as a father struggles to teach his son to work for the common good, this is exactly the sort of work you would expect from North Korean literature. Park Wansuh's "Mother's Hitching Post" describes a woman's relationship with her elderly mother, with flashbacks typical of Park's writing. Finally, the last two stories I want to discuss, could very well belong to my "favorites" list but I forgot to write about them until now and I'm too lazy to go back and edit them in: Yi Munyol's "The Old Hatter" and Cho Sehui's "Knifeblade." "Knifeblade" comes from Cho's astonishing work "The Dwarf". It is my favorite from that book, depicting Korea's new middle class. (That being said, I recommend reading "The Dwarf" as a whole.) "The Old Hatter" is another story that details the changing of time, and the loss of Korea's heritage and traditional culture; it's almost a bit too heavy on how awful it is Koreans are losing touch with the past, but the story is very strong overall. The other stories are all good as well. I definitely recommend reading this anthology for a great introduction to modern Korean literature.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    The stories in this anthology gave me an impression of what Korean writers during and in the aftermath of the Korean war experienced and wrote about. Many of the stories also have this distinctly (in my opinion) Korean taste for characters who are in a way oppressed by factors outside of their influence or even conciousness and who have more or less accepted their situation, yet still find ways to fight against it. I don't know how to describe it differently, but I noticed how characters were ki The stories in this anthology gave me an impression of what Korean writers during and in the aftermath of the Korean war experienced and wrote about. Many of the stories also have this distinctly (in my opinion) Korean taste for characters who are in a way oppressed by factors outside of their influence or even conciousness and who have more or less accepted their situation, yet still find ways to fight against it. I don't know how to describe it differently, but I noticed how characters were kind of weak and/or foolish, yet strong in their fighting spirit. Another positive was that I was able to get an idea of how the social landscape of South-Korea around the mid-20th century was, an insight I can well use for a novel I want to write, some day. :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

    This book was a very interesting one to read. In my experiences of reading this was definitely a new type of book. The words carried with them a deeper meaning. Each word was crafted carefully by the author, expressing her thoughts and inner feelings. It all flowed so nicely and the stories that were told were so in-depth and in detail, you could imagine being there. This was the first anthology I read and although it wasn’t as entertaining as the other books I read, I gained a new respect for t This book was a very interesting one to read. In my experiences of reading this was definitely a new type of book. The words carried with them a deeper meaning. Each word was crafted carefully by the author, expressing her thoughts and inner feelings. It all flowed so nicely and the stories that were told were so in-depth and in detail, you could imagine being there. This was the first anthology I read and although it wasn’t as entertaining as the other books I read, I gained a new respect for the authors and poets who write their stories and transform them into a river and flow of words and phrases. It seems like a very difficult and tedious task, but I could see it being worthwhile. The words practically jump out of the page and hit your heart. Overall I would recommend this book to the older and adult audience.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Miller

    A stellar collection of modern Korean fiction.

  6. 5 out of 5

    James F

    Trying to finish up my year of reading Korean literature, I found this anthology of translated stories at the library. The twenty two stories collected here were written between 1924 and 1997; two I had already read ("Wings" and "Knifeblade") and three others were by authors I had read before (Yi Mun-Yol, Park Wan-Suh, and Kim Young-Ha). All were interesting and together gave a good overview of the literary history of modern Korea. Perhaps more than with novel-dominated western literature, short Trying to finish up my year of reading Korean literature, I found this anthology of translated stories at the library. The twenty two stories collected here were written between 1924 and 1997; two I had already read ("Wings" and "Knifeblade") and three others were by authors I had read before (Yi Mun-Yol, Park Wan-Suh, and Kim Young-Ha). All were interesting and together gave a good overview of the literary history of modern Korea. Perhaps more than with novel-dominated western literature, short stories make up a significant portion of the literary output in that part of the world.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

    Okay, not a novel, actually a collection of Korean short stories translated by Fulton. Very, very interesting. Korean literature is usually pretty, um, typical of Asian literature in that it is negative, dark, and depressing. Some of these stories definitely fall into that category. But it is a great cathartic outlet for expressing the anger, pain, and suffering endured in this century. Some are happy. Just keep reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Nance

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Wilcox

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  11. 5 out of 5

    E_star

  12. 5 out of 5

    sraxe

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura Jones

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  16. 5 out of 5

    Oakley Atterson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gerrit

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hangukostfan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anri Lin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Murray

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jaice Cooperrider

  26. 5 out of 5

    Berk

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Song

  28. 5 out of 5

    Austin Murphy

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Stein

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Kelly

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