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Modern Korean Fiction: An Anthology

To represent the past century of Korean fiction, this definitive collection extends beyond familiar writers, challenges cultural norms, and crosses political borders. By including stories from neglected female, North Korean, and wolbuk writers (those who migrated to the North after 1945 and whose works were widely banned in South Korea) and by bringing politically engaged works together with experimental ones, this anthology articulates the ruptures and resolutions that have marked the peninsula. From sketches of desperate peasants in straitened circumstances to fast-moving, visceral tales of contemporary South Korea, the works in this collection bear witness to the dramatic transformations and events in twentieth-century Korean history, including Japanese colonial rule, civil war, and economic modernization in the South. The writers explore these developments through a variety of literary and political lenses, revealing with precision and poignancy their impact on Korean society and the lives of ordinary Koreans. This anthology includes an introduction, which synthesizes the key developments in modern Korean literature, and a comprehensive bibliography of Korean fiction in translation.

The collection contains the following stories:

Hyeon Jin-geon: A Lucky Day (1924)
Kim Dong-in: Potatoes / Sweet Potato (1925)
Yi T’ae-jun: Crows (1936)
Kim Dong-ni: The Shaman Painting (1936)
Kim Yu-jeong: The White Rabbit (1936)
Yi Hyo-seok: When the Buckwheat Blooms (1936)
Yi Sang: Wings (1936)
Ch’ae Man-Sik: My Innocent Uncle (1938)
Choe Cheong-hui: The Ritual at the Well (1948)
Hwang Sun-won: Coarse Sand (1953)
Yi Ho-ch’ŏl: Leaving Home (1955)
Kim Seung-ok: Seoul, 1964, Winter  (1965)
Ch’oe In-ho: Another Man’s Room (1971)
Kim Pukhyang: The Son (1971)
Cho Se-hui: Knifeblade (1975)
Ch’oe Illam: Ballad (1976)
Yi Ch’ŏng-jun: Footprints in the Snow (1977)
Yi Mun-yol: The Old Hatter (1980)
Park Wan-suh: Mother’s Hitching Post (1981)
Oh Jung-Hee: Wayfarer (1984)
Ch’oe Yun: The Gray Snowman (1992)
Kim Young-ha: Lizard (1997)

Read a review by Charles Montgomery here. Read a review by Tony Malone here. Entry on here.

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