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A celebration of the launch of Park Kyung-ni’s Land in translation

In the mid-90s Kegan Paul published what was billed as Part 1 of Park Kyung-ni’s epic novel, Land (Toji). Translated by Agnita Tennant (Née Hong), the volume extended to 657 pages. In fact, this was only half of Part 1. Global Oriental is now publishing all of it, in three volumes totalling 1,172 pages. There’s a launch event at the KCC on 23 January at 6:30pm, at which Agnita Tennant, Park Sowon and Dame Margaret Drabble will be speaking. Parts 2 to 5 of Land are still waiting an English translation, but Part 1 is a self-contained story, enabling it to be read in isolation from the rest of the work.

Publication of
LAND (T’oji)
Park Kyung-ni
Translated by Agnita Tennant

On 23 May, a celebration launch of the English translation of Land (T’oji) by Korea’s most celebrated novelist and poet, Pak Kyung Ni (1926-2008), will take place at the Korea Culture Centre UK, London, with guest speakers Margaret Drabble, Pak Sowon and Agnita Tennant.

Widely recognized as a masterpiece and the most significant work of post-war Korean literature, Land follows the fortunes and misfortunes of several generations of villagers of a traditional Korean farming community, commencing in the latter years of the nineteenth century and ending with Japan’s capitulation and Korea’s liberation in 1945.

Originally written as an epic novel in five parts, the English edition, published in three volumes, comprises Part l only. However, it is a self-contained story which covers a ten-year period from 1897, focusing on the villagers who are caught up in the struggles between the conservative and modernizing forces of their country.

Part l is considered by many to represent the best example of Pak’s writings, noted especially for its characterization and the intensity with which it addresses the timeless themes of humanity, such as love, hate, treachery, the gap between rich and poor, and the deep-rooted traditions facing the tide of change.

Opening with the village celebration of the Harvest Moon Festival in 1897, the story revolves around the household of Ch’oe Chisu, a rich landowner, who though envied by many for his wealth, is embittered by the fact that his wife has not borne him a son. Characters emerge upon whom the rest of the story devolves – including the Lady Yun with her prophetic wisdom; the wilful Sŭhui, daughter of Ch’oe Chisu, and the tender-hearted Wŏlsŏn, accepting as her lot in life the ignominy of being a shaman’s daughter.

Venue: Korea Cultural Centre UK, Ground Floor, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW (entrance at the top of Northumberland Avenue)

Please register in advance with Paul Norbury, Global Oriental. Tel. 01303-226799 . E-mail: [email protected]


(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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