A book that ought to interest both fans of literature and translation

Via an article over at the Korea Times I find a collection of works by a man who must surely be one of the true pioneers of Korean modern literature, and also seems to have been quite interesting entirely on his own account.

The review begins:

The new book, “Inside Cloud Cuckoo Land: The Voice of Korea,” is a compilation of essays in English and translations of modern Korean poems and short stories by the late professor Lee In-soo.

Lee pioneered translating Korean literature into English in the 1940s and the works included in the book were made during his professorship at Korea University from 1946 to 1950.

A combination of prose essays and translations of both poems and fiction it should be interesting both for what it contains (and some of the essays sound fascinating) as well as what the translations look like.

The reviewer in the Times says:


The most noteworthy work is the translation of “The Wing” authored by Yi Sang. Although it was not completed and remains in fragmentary manuscript, it is regarded as a rare but important attempt for a Korean scholar to translate one of the most complicated and abstruse pieces of Korean literature into English targeting overseas readers when Korean writing was almost unknown to the world.

And that should prick translator/fan ears up, since “The Wings” has been translated (in the excellent Jimoondang collection) and so comparison will be possible. I also reviewed it here.

Unfortunately it isn’t quite clear yet where you can order this book from – it has not appeared on any online bookstore that I can see. I have an email in to the reviewer from the Times, and with luck contact/purchasing info for this book will pop up here in a day or two.

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