Korean Lit Made Easy! PDF Files for Kualu Lumpur & 10 Mag Bookclub Presentations

KTLIT LogoThe following are the stories I will focus on in second section of my upcoming presentations. The first presentation will be at 10 AM on February 7th. I will be presenting at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur. Then, on March 31st, I will be doing an updated (and road-tested!) version of the presentation at the 10 Magazine Book Club in Seoul. This presentation will run from 2 til 4 and as seating is limited, it is strongly recommended that you reserve a spot here. Also, there is a request by the organizer of a 5-chun won donation to cover the costs of booking the room.

The upcoming presentation will discuss 6 periods in Korean literature, though it will focus on the modern ones.

Those periods are:

• Classical Korean Literature (a gloss is necessary to understand the modern version)
• Enlightenment Literature (the short period at the end of the Joseon Dynasty in which Korea began to modernize)
• Colonial Literature (the didactic and realist/escapist)
• Separation (Civil War and more) Literature
• The Miracle on the Han; the unexpected cost of victory
• Post-Modernism Emerging

Classical and enlightenment will be discussed at the University & book club, partly because they are only scaffold, partly because they are not as interesting, and partly because I know less about them^^.

For now, an interested reader can get a quick (if incomplete, these were drafts for a longer work) view of classical literature here:

I) Hyangga and Koryeo Kasa
II) Sijo & Kasa
III) Classical Fiction
IV) Pansori
VI (I lost my counting skills!) The Enlightenment

The works in the PDFs are representative of the colonial, separation, miracle, and post-modern eras. They are not necessarily the best examples, but they fit the book club as they are short ;-), available in PDF, and not oppressively unhappy. The last point is important, since a lot of Korean literature is a bit of a downer.^^
With no more detail,  here are the works, and how they roughly fit in to the overall scheme of modern Korean fiction (much more detail will be revealed at the lecture, and a handy-dandy booklet will be available for those who learn by reading).

COLONIAL ERA 1905-1945

The Wings (Nalgae, 날개) by Yi Sang (이상). Yi Sang is a classic author and poet of the era, and lived the life you might expect based on that. His schizophrenic/paranoid/childish approach in this disturbing story is a comment on the relationship between Korea and its colonial master. Also, you should check out his poetry, here.^^

The story can be found in PDF form (it was scanned at some point, so it is the least easy to read, but hang in there, the PDFS get better^^)  here: http://www.ktlit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/TheWings.pdf


SEPARATION 1945-1965

The Crane (), by Hwang Sun-won (황순원 – one of the very greatest Korean authors that you can find in translation) is very short and very friendly compared to most pundan munhak but in a very brief space it outlines how the separation of the nation meant the separation of everything that is meaningful.
It can be found at: http://hompi.sogang.ac.kr/anthony/CraneEng.pdf

MIRACLE 1965 – 1997

The City of Machines is a short piece by Cho Se-hui (조세희) that discusses the first costs of the miracle, the massive displacement of people and society. It is from his larger story, The Dwarf (난장이가 쏘아올린 작은 공), which is a yŏnjak sosŏl (linked novel) or collection of separately published short stories which can stand alone or supplement each other.

The City of Machines can be found here: http://www.ktlit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/CityofMachines.pdf

The second piece here is Ch’oe Yun’s (최윤) The Flower With 13 Fragrances (열세가지 이름의 꽃향기,). This story is also a kind of bridge towards post-modern literature, but it also comments, quite amusingly, on the costs of the miracle on the Han as it became embedded – the destruction of morality, the introduction of greed, and the general breakdown of communal culture.

The Flower With 13 Fragrances is NOT a PDF and can be found on the amazing Brother Anthony of Taize’s Korean literature site.

POSTMODERN 1997 – Present

Whatever Happened to the Guy in the Elevator (엘리베이터에 낀 그 남자는 어떻게 되었나) by Kim Young-ha (김영하) is here to reflect post-modern fiction. In terms of Kim Young-ha, and postmodern literature in general, it is rather friendly and amusing. Much of postmodern literature followed along the vibe of Seoul, Winter 1964 and City of Machines, and so does most of Kim Young-ha’s work, including his seminal, I Have the Right to Destroy Myself, which has been popular in Korean, French and English.

You can find Whatever Happened to the Guy in the Elevator here: http://www.ktlit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Man-in-the-Elevator.pdf

I look forward to seeing some of you at the presentations, and am happy to receive suggestions about this presentation

2 thoughts on “Korean Lit Made Easy! PDF Files for Kualu Lumpur & 10 Mag Bookclub Presentations

  1. Since you will be in Malaysia, where there are also some places that sell DPRK lit, you should take a look.

  2. Charles,

    Alas, I am long back from Malaysia and we only made it to one used bookstore as most everything was closed for the Asian New Year.

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