Kim Seungok: Best KTLIT Wikipedia Page Yet

Check it out on Wikipedia, where I’ve just learned how to use the “Infobox” feature. It took a while to put together…..
LOL.. this is going to take longer than I thought, unless someone else rides in on a white horse..

Next step, I guess, is to figure out how to get copyright-free images of the authors…


Born in Osaka, Japan, in December 1941, Kim Seungok returned to Korea after its Liberation in 1945. [1] There, he was raised in Suncheon in Jeollanam-do where he graduated from Suncheon High School.[2] In 1960 he studied French Literature at Seoul National University at a time that department and University were the center of intellectual discontent in Seoul. [3] While at SNU, Kim was a cartoonist for a Seoul newspaper and published his first major story at age 19 (“Practice for Life””). While a junior in 1962, Kim founded a literary Journal, The Age of Prose, and some of his first works were published there.[4] Kim was an immediate literary success, a success that continued unabated until he was 25. [5] His greatest success was Seoul, Winter, 1964, a work that crystallized a Korean sense of loss and meaninglesness attendant to the industrialization of Korea and resulting nihilism. [6] Kim was the first Korean writer to win both the Yi Sang Literature Prize (which he won in 1977) and the Tong-in Literature Prize (In 1965, for Seoul, Winter, 1964), but after 1967 his creative energies began to dissipate and in 1979 he quite writing fiction. [7]


Kim is the quintessential outsider to systems, regardless of what systems he addressed. This was apparent in even his earliest works, which adopted the stance of romantic outsider. In stories including Fantasy Notebook (Hwansang sucheop,1962), Fifteen Certified Preconceptions (Hwaginhaebon yeoldaseot gaji gojeong gwannyeom), and Operation (Saengmyeong yeonseup, 1962) Kim shows a burning desire to escape the bounds of quotidian existence; he often does this through fantasy or hallucination. Kim quickly began to recognize the strength of social constraints, however, and his works began to reflect an inability to exceed these constraints. Kim’s stance turned towards distance and nihilism, in which there was no such thing as a dream. The romantic outsider is replaced by atomistic narrators in uncaring society. Seoul, Winter 1964 (Seoul, 1964 nyeon gyeoul, 1965), Journey by Night (Yahaeng), A Cup of Tea (Chana hanjan), Strong are the Goats (Yeomsoneun himi seda, 1966) and The Moonlight in Seoul: Chapter 0 (Seourui dalbit 0 jang) all detail the anomic lives of narrators who are trapped by modernizing society. Finally, just before he retired from fiction entirely, Kim attempted to to use erotic passion in somewhat the same way he had used hallucination/fantasy in his earlier works. Kim’s stories in this vein were not well received.


  1. Modern Korean Fiction An Anthology, p 163
  2. Korean Literature Translation Institute:
  3. Modern Korean Fiction An Anthology, p 163
  4. Korean Literature Translation Institute:
  5. Korean Writers The Novelists, p 134
  6. Korean Writers The Novelists, p 135
  7. Korean Writers The Novelists, p 135

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