A 15-volume series of modern Korean literature has been published in a Korean-English bilingual edition, its publisher Asia Publishers said.
It took five years for the publishing company to release the series, which includes Oh Jung-hee’s “Chinatown,” Choe Yun’s “The Last of Hanako” and Jo Jung-rae’s “The Land of the Vanished.”
Titled “Bi-lingual Edition Modern Korean Literature,” the series is divided into three different sections: “Division,” “Industrialization” and “Women.”
While the series’ “Division” section contains fiction works that deal with the Korean War and the post-war period, including Yi Cheong-jun’s “The Wounded” and Park Wan-suh’s “Mother’s Stake I,” its “Industrialization” section features works that delve deep into Korea’s modernization and rapid economic growth. The section includes Yang Kwi-ja’s “The Poet of Wonmi-dong” and Kim Seung-ok’s “Record of a Journey to Mujin.”
“I used to read a lot of bilingual editions of foreign novels when I was young,” said author Oh Jung-hee, whose novel “Chinatown” has been included in the series.
“So it’s interesting to see my own novel being published in a bilingual edition.”
The last section, which includes five novels by female writers, explores women’s roles and issues in modern Korea. The section includes Gong Ji-young’s “Human Decency,” Shin Kyung-sook’s “The Place where the Harmonium Was,” and Eun Hee-kyung’s “Poor Man’s Wife.”
Some of the most esteemed English-Korean translators participated in the project, including Bruce Fulton, Ju-chan Fulton and David R. McCann of Harvard University.
“The translators asked me a lot of questions as they were translating,” said author Choe Yun, whose novel “The Last of Hanako” has been included in the series.
“I once had to stay at this translating institute in Canada for a week just to answer their questions. And I appreciated their effort to be accurate.”
The series will be sold in both Korea and the U.S., and will be used as class material for Korean studies courses at Harvard University, Columbia University and University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, Asia Publishers said.
According to Asia Publishers’ executive editor Bang Hyun-seok, the publishing house is planning to expand the series to 50 volumes by the end of this year, by adding more sections such as “Avant-garde,” “Freedom” and “Diaspora.”
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)