LKL book database logo

Modern Korean Drama: An Anthology

Editor: Richard Nichols
Author: , , , , , ,
Translated by:
Publisher: , 2009.
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

Carefully selected and represented, the plays in this collection showcase both the fantastic and the realistic innovations of Korean dramatists during a time of rapid social and historical change. Stretching from 1962 to 2004, these seven works tackle major subjects, such as the close of the Choson dynasty and the aftermath of the Korean War, while delving into trenchant cultural issues, such as the marginalization of students who rebel against mainstream education and the role of traditional values in a materialistic society.

Longtime scholar of Korea and its vibrant, politically acute theater, Richard Nichols opens with a general overview of modern Korean drama since 1910 and concludes with an appendix describing theater production and audience attendance in Seoul. He chooses works that aren’t just for Korean audiences. These texts confront universal themes and situations, tackling the problem of ambition, the trouble with fidelity, and the complexity of sexual and interpersonal relationships.

Nichols situates each work critically, historically, and culturally, including brief biographies of playwrights and extensive notes. A bibliography also provides alternative readings and the titles of additional plays currently available in English. Primed for production, these skillful translations provide Western directors with exciting new material for the stage. At the same time, they offer students and scholars a sophisticated survey of the modern Korean dramatic tradition.

Richard Nichols is emeritus professor of theater at Penn State University. A senior Fulbright research scholar in Seoul from 2002 to 2003, Nichols has taught at Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, and the Korean National University of the Arts. He has published numerous articles on Korean theater and is the cotranslator of Four Contemporary Korean Plays by Lee Yun-Taek.

Contains the following plays:

Ch’a Pomsok, Burning Mountain (Sanbul, 1962)
Pak Choyol, O Chang-gun’s Toenail (O Chang-gun ui palt’op, 1974)
Yi Manhui, Please Turn Off the Lights (Pul chom kko chuseyo, 1992)
O T’aesok, Bellflower (Toraji, 1994)
Yi Kangbaek, A Feeling, Like Nirvana (Nuggim kugnak kat’un, 1998)
Pak Kunhyong, In Praise of Youth (Ch’ongch’un yech’an, 1999)
Pae Samshik, Ch’oe Sunghui (Ch’oe Sunghui, 2004)

Entry on Goodreads.com here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.