This is a link directly to the PDF of “Twentieth Century Korean Literature.” Less than 100 pages long, written by Yi Man-ho, U Ch’ange, Yi Kwangho and Kim Mihyeon (Edited by the irreplaceable Brother Anthony, the link is also to a document on his brilliant site) this work broadly covers Korean Literature from 1900 to the present.
The book divides the literature into 4 periods, all of which will be obvious to those who know Korean history; The Occupation, The War and Post War, Industrialisation, and Consumer Society.
I’ve read this work twice – once before I had read any Korean Literature and just this week. It made a lot more sense the latter time, but it is worth reading just for its outline of general themes and developments. If you have read even the limited amount of Korean literature that I have talked about on this blog, the book will be even more valuable as you will recognize the roles of particular works and authors in the development of modern Korean Literature.
I look forward to coming back and re-reading this book again, in another year, when I have even more readings under my belt.
Not being a particular fan of translated poetry, those sections were still a bit opaque to me, but this work is so short there is no point in skipping any of it.
Other exciting things are going on over here by Namsan, including a project to develop translation selection rubrics, but for now I have to run off to the bookstore, and leave a link to this free digital gem (and run!).