After last year’s release of ten titles, Dalkey Archive Press has a follow-up release of five new translations. If they all measure up to No One Writes Back from their first set, which was runaway winner of LKL’s Book of the Year 2013, there is treasure in store.
So come and help celebrate, and encourage them to release another five after this. Or fifty five.
Five new titles in the Dalkey Library of Korean Literature
Published on 27 October 2014
The Korean Cultural Centre UK cordially invites you to attend a reception to celebrate the publication of five new novels in the Library of Korean Literature series published by Dalkey Archive Press and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea
on Tuesday 4th November 2014, 6.30pm-8.00pm
at the Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1 – 3 Strand London WC2N 5BW
(main entrance on Northumberland Avenue)
RSVP: Korean Cultural Centre UK
Tel: 020 7004 2600
John O’Brien, CEO Dallkey Archive Press
Richard Lea, Journalist The Guardian
Hailji, Author The Republic of Uzpis
This is a celebration to mark the publication of 5 new novels, including The Republic of Uzupis, by Hailji in the Library of Korean Literature series, and jointly published by Dalkey Archive Press and the Literature Translation Institute of Korea. The reception will be held on Tuesday 4th November 2014, 6.30pm-8.00pm in the Korean Cultural Centre UK.
Introduction to 5 new titles in the Library of Korean Literature
“The Library of Korean Literature was an utterly unrealistic dream when first conceived, to publish 25 Korean titles in a very short period in order to respond to how few books from Korea were being published in both England and the United States. But unrealistic dreams are what have fashioned the best of literary publishing from John Calder Books in England and New Directions and the early years of Grove Press in the United States. The Library perfectly reflects what a nonprofit press should be doing, serving the needs of the reading public rather than looking to the marketplace as the final arbiter of what literature is made available. Despite the challenges faced in marketing, and the high costs of such a bold adventure, both Dalkey Archive and the Korean Institute of Literature took the risks involved in order to ensure that Korean literature would take its rightful place in the great literatures of the world.”
John O’Brien, CEO of Dalky Archive Press
Pavane for a Dead Princess by Park Min-gyu
Following the relationship between a man with matinee-idol good looks and “the ugliest woman of the century,” Pavane for a Dead Princess examines how contemporary Korea’s obsession with beauty is its popular culture’s newest canker. Both celebrated and condemned for his attacks upon what he perceives as the humorlessness of contemporary Korean literature, author Park Min-gyu uses a myriad of references to Western music and art, and the addition of a ‘writer’s cut,’ to suggest various ways of looking at his country’s extreme aesthetic fetishization.
PARK MIN-GYU was born in South Korea in 1968 and published his first book, Legend of the World’s Superheroes, in 2003, for which he was awarded the Munhakdongne New Writer Award. He has since published four more novels, and numerous short stories.
The Square by Choi In-hun
Set just before the Korean War, this groundbreaking classic of Korean modernism tackles the shattering effect of Korea’s national division. Following its protagonist as he travels to the North, hoping to escape what he sees as the South’s repressive right-wing regime, it sees him dismayed by an equally destructive adherence to ideology in the so-called worker’s paradise.
A dark and complex story of the way ideology can destroy the individual, Choi In-hun’s investigation of his country’s partition into two diametrically opposed polities implies both communism and capitalism are pernicious and externally acquired infections.
CHOI IN-HUN was born in 1936 in Hoeryong City, North Hamgyong Province, now in North Korea. He studied law at Seoul National University but joined the army without completing his final semester. From 1977 to 2001, he was professor of creative writing at Seoul Institute of the Arts. Author of novels, essays and plays, his work has received numerous awards, including the Dongin Literary Award.
Scenes from the Enlightenment by Kim Namcheon
An account of seemingly trivial events—a wedding between two respected families, the arrival of box upon box of new Western products at the general store, a long-awaited athletics meet at a local school—Scenes from the Enlightenment: A Novel of Manners is the story of a country on the cusp of modernity.
First published in 1939, Kim Namcheon’s classic text, through the close, quiet study of a single nineteenth-century village, tracks Korea’s early development from a society bound by the rules of family, rank, and gender toward a ‘new-style,’ enlightened, Westernised nation, complete with bicycles and newly built roads.
On the surface an elegantly turned and acutely observed social comedy, Scenes delves into the conflict between tradition and progress, and reveals how it affected the lives of those who lived through this time of change.
KIM NAMCHEON was born in 1911 in South Pyongan Province, located in what is today North Korea. He was active in the proletarian literary movement, the Korean Artists Proletarian Federation (KAPF). His early works pursued socialist realism. It is reported he was executed in 1953 as part of a cultural purge.
Another Man’s City by Ch’oe In-ho
Through a series of seemingly minor juxtapositions of the familiar and the strange, K, the protagonist of Another Man’s City, gradually realizes he is inside a Matrix-like reality, populated by shape-shifting characters, and is living a virtual-reality narrative manipulated by an entity referred to as both the “Invisible Hand” and “Big Brother.”
From mundane and quotidian events, Choi In Ho steadily builds an unreal and uncanny edifice—a virtual world reminiscent of Kafka or Orwell, with echoes of The Truman Show and of Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled.
CH‘OE IN-HO was born in 1945 in Seoul and graduated from Yonsei University. In 1982, he received the sixth Yi Sang Literature Prize for his novel Deep Blue Night. His work has been translated into Japanese, German, Polish and French. A prodigious drinker, he died in 2013 of cancer. In 2014 his handprints were memorialized on the Yonseiro sidewalk where he frequently drank.
The Republic of Užupis by Hailji
Užupis (meaning “on the other side of the river”) is, in reality, a neighborhood in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital city, which took the peculiar step of declaring itself an independent republic in 1997. In this novel, however, it is the lost homeland of a middle-aged man named Hal, who lands in Lithuania hoping to bury his father’s ashes in the country of his birth—a place he is told does not exist.
In this unique and melancholic work author Haïlji, while appearing to shun Korea, is in fact examining the yearnings and dislocation of his contemporary Koreans, and posits the idea that freedom and nationhood may be just a dream.
HAÏLJI was born in Kyŏngju in 1955, studied creative writing at Chungang University in Seoul, and earned a doctoral degree in France. He is currently a professor at Dongduk Women’s University and has written more than ten novels in Korean, as well as poetry in English and French, including the collection Blue Meditation of the Clocks.
Praise for the first ten titles in Dalkey Archive Press’s LIBRARY OF KOREAN LITERATURE
“Congratulations are due . . . to Dalkey Archive, who are publishing a series of Korean novels, for going even further than they normally do in bringing us the fruits of other people’s culture.” —Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
“All I can say, in a rather dazed fashion, is read it—you’ll love it.” —Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian, on No One Writes Back
“[T]hese ten . . . do an admirable job of showcasing the great range of talent to be found among modern Korean literature, which, in its contemporary iteration, seems to me to be one of the world’s most exciting, dynamic, and consistently impressive.” —Deborah Smith, The Quarterly Conversation
“A veritable Brooklynful of accomplished, exciting Korean writers awaits us in these bracing paperbacks.” —James Hannaham, The Village Voice
“[T]he titles moving me the most were the ones most steeped in tradition.” —Craig Fehrman, The American Prospect
“Lonesome You is a marvelous collection by a writer who, before she died in 2011, might well have been South Korea’s best bet for a first Nobel Prize in Literature.” —Mark Morris, Times Literary Supplement, on Lonesome You
“Lee Ki-ho’s At Least We Can Apologize is a wickedly funny story . . . gleefully catastrophic.” —Mark Morris, Times Literary Supplement, on At Least We Can Apologize
“Like Beckett’s early stories, Jung’s work operates in a provocatively ironic mode.” —Kevin Breathnach, Totally Dublin on A Most Ambiguous Sunday
“Jang Eun-jin: No One Writes Back. Just read it. You won’t regret it.” -Philip Gowman, London Korean Links
The first ten titles in the Library of Korean Literature, published in October 2013:
Stingray by Kim Joo-young
One Spoon on This Earth by Hyun Ki-young
When Adam Opens His Eyes by Jang Jung-il
My Son’s Girlfriend by Jung Mi-Kyung
A Most Ambiguous Sunday, and Other Stories by Jung Young-moon
The House with a Sunken Courtyard by Kim Won-il
At Least We Can Apologize by Lee Ki-ho
The Soil by Yi Kwang-su
Lonesome You by Park Wan-suh
No One Writes Back by Jang Eun-jin
(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.