Pyun Hye-young’s O. Cuniculi Translated (By Sora Kim) at Words Without Borders

Be Vewwwwy Quiet!NOTE: The original article I refer to here has Pyun’s name incorrect and I have kept it that way when referring to the article. Thanks to the multiple readers who noted this.

Also included is a short introduction to Pyun by Jo Kyung-ran (translated by Heinz Fenkl) called Necessary or True Happenstances: An Introduction to the Work of Hye Young-Pyun.  About Pyun, Jo says:

Hye Young-Pyun’s  literary debut was in the 2000 Seoul Shinmun spring literary contest with the short story, “Shaking off the Dew.” The theme Pyun confronts repeatedly throughout her work is that of the contemporary urban condition characterized by the horror of daily repetition and sameness. She dramatizes the current irony of our lives, in which the civilized is savage and the savage civilized. But Pyun’s world is not as gloomy as the dark nighttime parks, garbage dumps, construction sites, or sewers that serve as the backdrops of her stories. She reveals to us the value of confronting the abyss. When you read her work there are profoundly uncomfortable moments, but, ultimately, after you close the book, you experience that “Ah” moment when something has been illuminated.  Pyun’s stories allow us to consider stepping forward to endure the depths.

The story is translated by Sora Kim-Russell, a LTI Korea trained translator of some skill (and once correspondent for the now basically defunct Subject, Object, Verb blog). It is a semi-sad story about a man and his rabbit, and you can read it here. The translated title is interesting, since it refers to a kind of animal that isn’t really a rabbit, and also isn’t indigenous to Korea, but the Latin name, with the slight echo of Cicero, is quite evocative.

8 thoughts on “Pyun Hye-young’s O. Cuniculi Translated (By Sora Kim) at Words Without Borders

  1. The word has an echo of our English word “coney” with which it is related.

    It is etymologically related to the Latin word “cunnus” which also has a common English language word descended from that same etymology.

    I think that the echo of that common English language word is far stronger than the echo of Cicero.

  2. Dear Sunae,

    I noticed that, but the website has the name Romanized the way I have written it in my post. I assume it is the author’s preference and I always go with that, even if it breaks with appropriate Romanization (Pak Wan-so was another example of this)

  3. Hello Charles

    As you know very well I pay huge attention to Korean names and I think this should be fixed ASAP.

    i can understand this is her preference, but 편 is her surname so it can not be writte this way: Hye Young-Pyun with dash after Young.
    It has to be Hye-Young and then Pyun.

    Sunae is right!

    If people are writting her name in this way, please come back to them and tell them this. Because this is very, very wrong. It has to be fixed. No more mistakes! 🙂

    Do you know who wrote it?
    I can write myslef…

  4. Marzena!

    This is just terrible. I’m with you that Romanization has to be unified. But when I see official outlets choosing a Romanization I go with it…

    Maybe what I will do in the future is use the Romanization I find, but note that the ‘proper’ one is different?

  5. Good grief. It’s called a “typo.” If you look at the copyright information and the author bio, you can see that the name was hyphenated correctly, which indicates it was a simple mistake by whoever had the fun job of typing in the introduction. It happens. I’ve had my name incorrectly hyphenated before as well.

    As for that creature in the photo (a lowland paca, btw), “O. cuniculus” is the scientific abbreviation for Oryctolagus cuniculus, aka the common rabbit.

  6. Sora,

    LOL.. their typo doesn’t change the fact that I am stupid. Also, I loved your explanation of the title on your blog.

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