London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Tales of the Strange by a Korean Confucian Monk: Kŭmo sinhwa by Kim Sisŭp

One of the most important and celebrated works of premodern Korean prose fiction, Kŭmo sinhwa (New Tales of the Golden Turtle) is a collection of five tales of the strange artfully written in literary Chinese by Kim Sisŭp (1435–1493). Kim was a major intellectual and poet of the early Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1897), and this book … [Read More]

Poems from Korea: From the Earliest Era to the Present

From the publisher’s website: The Koreans, according to the Chinese chronicles, are ‘the people who enjoy singing and dancing’ and who regaled their gods with dance and song. Since then poetry has been an essential part of Korean life and has been regarded as the highest of the arts. In this first comprehensive anthology of … [Read More]

The Nine Cloud Dream

A Buddhist journey reminscent of Dante’s Inferno exploring the illusions of human life, published here in the first new translation in forty years Often considered the greatest work of classic Korean fiction, The Nine Cloud Dream poses the question: will the life we dream of truly make us happy? A historical novel set in 9th-century … [Read More]

Korea’s Premier Collection of Classical Literature: Selections from Sŏ Kŏjŏng’s Tongmunsŏn

From the publisher’s website: This is the first book in English to offer an extensive introduction to the Tongmunsŏn (Selections of Refined Literature of Korea)—the largest and most important Korean literary collection created prior to the twentieth century—as well as translations of essays from key chapters. The Tongmunsŏn was compiled in 1478 by Sŏ Kŏjŏng … [Read More]

The Tale of Cho Ung

The Tale of Cho Ung is one of the most widely read and beloved stories of Choson Korea. The anonymously written tale recounts the adventures of protagonist Cho Ung as he fearlessly confronts and overcomes obstacles and grows into a heroic young man. As a child, Ung flees a wicked tyrant who wrongfully killed his … [Read More]

On an Autumn Night: Classical Korean Poetry

From the back cover: The poems collected here are in classical Chinese, the language of learning in Korea before the turn of the twentieth century. Though they range from the seventh to the nineteenth century, most were written during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). They are five-character line quatrain poems written in the New Style, the … [Read More]

Premodern Korean Literary Prose: An Anthology

This anthology presents new translations of Korean prose works from the tenth to the nineteenth century. It offers insight into past Korean societies by highlighting genres that have largely not been translated, such as diaries, short fictional biographies, erotic tales, oral narratives, and novellas, all of which illustrate the depth and variety of premodern Korean … [Read More]

The Song of Ch’unhyang: Musical Text as compiled by Master Singer Kim Yŏn-su

The Song of Ch’unhyang is one of the most popular p’ansori pieces in the genre’s classic repertoire. Its story is simple. Ch’unhyang (“Spring-Fragrance”) is the beautiful daughter of a deceased aristocrat and Wŏlmae, a retired kisaeng. Her ambiguous social status becomes the key dramatic complication when she falls in love with Yi Mongnyong, the young … [Read More]

An Anthology of Traditional Korean Literature

This revised, expanded anthology, compiled and edited by pioneering scholar and translator Peter H. Lee, offers a representative selection of traditional Korean literature. Its rich and diverse selections, covering all genres and forms written in classical (literary) Chinese and the vernacular Korean language, were chosen for both their literary merit and socio-historical engagement with their … [Read More]

The Story of Hong Gildong

The Story of Hong Gildong is arguably the single most important work of classic Korean fiction. Like its English counterpart, Robin Hood, it has been adapted into countless movies, television shows, novels and comics. Its memorable lines are known to virtually every Korean by heart. Until now, this incredible 19th century fable has been all … [Read More]

Score One for the Dancing Girl

Full title: Score One for the Dancing Girl, and Other Selections from the ‘Kimun Ch’onghwa’: A Story Collection from Nineteenth-Century Korea From the publisher’s website: Score One for the Dancing Girl presents more than a hundred stories from an early-nineteenth-century collection of yadam stories, the Kimun ch’onghwa (“Compendium of Records of Hearsay”). Prose tales that … [Read More]

Eerie Tales from Old Korea

The tales in this book were originally translated by Homer B. Hulbert and James Scarth Gale, both of whom were missionary/scholars who arrived in Korea in the late 1880s. Hulbert published his tales in the magazine, “Korea Review” between 1902 and 1905 and Gale in the book “Korean Folk Tales: Imps, Ghosts and Fairies” (1913). … [Read More]

The Book Of Korean Poetry: Choson Dynasty

The Korean Book of Poetry: Choson Dynasty is a comprehensive anthology of Choson Dynasty (13921910) poetry, with translations of 600 plus poems, an introduction to the dynasty, essays on the various genres, notes on poems and poets, guides to original texts, bibliography and so on. An ideal textbook for students of premodern Korean literature, it … [Read More]

The Crane in the Clouds: Shijo: Korean Classical Poems in the Vernacular

From the publisher’s website: This anthology presents well over a hundred Korean classical poems known as shijo, in English translation. Shijo, a form of poetic composition still very much alive, has a tradition spanning a thousand years. One of the first historical anthologies of shijo in English, this book offers an overview of that uniquely … [Read More]

The Novels of Park Jiwon: Translation of Overlooked Worlds

This book is a collection of translations of the complete short stories of Park Jiwon. Park Jiwon’s novels are populated with the full range of individuals who had been entirely excluded from the literary lens of Joseon (1392-1910). Park’s writings are an exploration of the full range of human experience in society. But rather than … [Read More]

Unyŏng-jŏn: A Love Affair at the Royal Palace of Chosŏn Korea

From the publisher’s website: This early seventeenth-century novel follows the winding path of a secret love affair and the difficulties the court lady and the poet-scholar encounter in attempting to realize their romantic dreams. According to Pettid, “The novel holds all the elements needed for a truly captivating story: love, treachery, heartbreak, danger, and friendship.” … [Read More]