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Modern Korean Fiction: An Anthology

by Bruce Fulton and Youngmin Kwon Columbia University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 408 pages
AU$72.00 NZ$75.65
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''From the claustrophobic space of Japanese-occupied Korea, to the powerful affects of guilt, shame, and nostalgia accompanying the economic miracle, these stories speak of a history which, while deeply inscribed in local detail, suggest the parameters of a global modernity. In terms of its range and consistent quality, there is simply no other comparable collection. A combination of fresh, new translations of old classics and a judicious selection of more recent writing makes this long-awaited anthology a most welcome publication for anyone interested in twentieth-century Korea.''
—Janet Poole

To represent the past century of Korean fiction, this definitive collection extends beyond familiar writers, challenges cultural norms, and crosses political borders. By including stories from neglected female, North Korean, and wôlbuk 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 marked 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 with 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.

1 Hyon Chingon, A Lucky Day
2 Kim Tongin, Potatoes
3 Yi T'aejun, Crows
4 Kim Tongni, The Shaman Painting
5 Kim Yujong, The White Rabbit
6 Yi Sang, Wings
7 Yi Hyosok, When the Buckwheat Blooms
8 Ch'ae Manshik, My Innocent Uncle
9 Ch'oe Chonghui, The Ritual at the Well
10 Hwang Sunwon, Coarse Sand
11 Yi Hoch'ol, Far from Home
12 Kim Sungok, Seoul: 1964, Winter
13 Ch'oe Inho, Another Man's Room
14 Kim Pukhyang, The Son
15 Cho Sehui, Knifeblade
16 Ch'oe Illam, Ballad
17 Yi Ch'ongjun, Footprints in the Snow
18 Yi Munyol, The Old Hatter
19 Pak Wanso, Mother's Hitching Post
20 O Chonghui, Wayfarer
21 Ch'oe Yun, The Gray Snowman
22 Kim Yongha, Lizard
Suggestions for Further Reading

An outstanding contribution to our understanding and appreciation of twentieth-century Korean literature... That should become a standard university text.
Bruce Fulton occupies the Young-Bin Min Chair in Korean Literature and Literary Translation at the University of British Columbia. He is coeditor of Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers, Land of Exile: Contemporary Korean Fiction, and A Ready-Made Life: Early Masters of Modern Korean Fiction.

Youngmin Kwon is professor of Korean literature at Seoul National University.