Found on the Web #40: Sophie Bowman, Webtoons, and Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-yong

Found on the Web

It’s been a while, but we’re back with Found on the Web, where we take a quick hop, skip, and a jump over the Internet to see what it is saying about Korean literature.

• First, an article on a friend of ours, Sophie Bowman (she of the “shy smile’). Despite it’s semi-salacious title, Translating Korean literature: hard, but exciting (I mean, why the “but?”^^), it’s a serious article about one of the new translators hitting the scene (A post for another day is how the latest generation of translators, like the generations before them, is changing the translation game in many ways).

As described in the article Ms. Bowman is:

She is the translator of “Let Me Linger as a Flower in Your Heart,” a recently published collection of more than 50 poems which were written by disabled writers, a collection originally introduced as “Sosdae Munhak” and published by the Korea Disabled Artist Association.

An interesting project and worth checking out.

• Another interesting article from the JoongAng Daily titled, Webtoons aim to draw in more overseas readers, which pretty much explains what is going on


It’s not exactly my kind of thing, but I think it’s a good strategy.

Not all readers of Webtoons will graduate to reading literature because, not to be too snarky, but plenty of Webtoon fans won’t graduate from anything other than a GED test. Still, readers start in different places and end in different places, and Webtoons might lead to graphic novels, and graphic novels might lead to actual novels.

So, while I’ll never read them, I hope the numbers here go up in the fashion that the article suggests.

(Hat tip to the Gypsy Scholar who pointed me to this)

• Finally, a quick shout out to Subject, Object, Verb‘s Sora Kim-Russell, who has translated yet another work that is now available for pre-order. The book is Princess Bari by Hwang Sok-yong. Hwang is a good, and often controversial, writer, and Princess Bari a figure from Korean mythology – an abandoned daughter who literally goes to Hell and back to save the lives of her parents.  According to SOV:

Princess Bari is Hwang’s modern re-telling of the shamanic/Taoist/Confucian/Buddhist (characteristically syncretic) myth and Korean master narrative of filial piety that places Bari’s journey through the “otherworld” in search of a life-giving water to North Korea in the 1990s, China, London during 9/11 and 7/7, and the spiritual realms of Bari’s shamanic visions.

So, I think you can already see where this book might cause some ‘interesting’ discussions.^^