LKL book database logo

Premodern Korean literature

Fiction, poetry and non-fiction written pre 1900, whether in Korean or Chinese characters. Titles are sorted in date of publication in English translation, most recent first.

BookCover image

The Diary of 1636: The Second Manchu Invasion of Korea
Na Man-gap tr George Kallander
Columbia University Press, 2020
score-2score-2score-2score-1score-0 

Publisher description: Early in the seventeenth century, Northeast Asian politics hung in a delicate balance among the Chosŏn dynasty in Korea, the Ming in China, and the Manchu. When a Chosŏn faction realigned Korea with the Ming, the Manchu attacked in 1627 and again a decade later, shattering the Chosŏn-Ming alliance and forcing Korea to […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Tales of the Strange by a Korean Confucian Monk: Kŭmo sinhwa by Kim Sisŭp
Dennis Wuerthner, Kim Si-seup tr Dennis Wuerthner
University of Hawai'i Press, 2020

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 […] (Link to online store)

Poems from Korea: From the Earliest Era to the Present
Ed Peter H Lee tr Peter H Lee
Routledge, 2019

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 […] (Link to online store)

The Nine Cloud Dream
Kim Man-jung tr Heinz Insu Fenkl
Penguin, 2019

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 […] (Link to online store)

Korea’s Premier Collection of Classical Literature: Selections from Sŏ Kŏjŏng’s Tongmunsŏn
Ed Sŏ Kŏjŏng, James B Lewis, Xin Wei tr James B Lewis, Xin Wei
University of Hawai'i Press, 2019

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 […] (Link to online store)

A Place to Live: A New Translation of Yi Chung-hwan’s T’aengniji
Yi Chung-hwan tr Inshil Choe Yoon
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

Full title: A Place to Live: A New Translation of Yi Chung-hwan’s T’aengniji, the Korean Classic for Choosing Settlements From the publisher’s website: A Place to Live brings together in a single volume an introduction to Yi Chung-hwan’s (1690–1756) T’aengniji (Treatise on Choosing Settlement)—one of the most widely read and influential of the Korean classics—and an annotated translation […] (Link to online store)

The Tale of Cho Ung
Trad / anon tr Sookja Cho
Columbia University Press, 2018
score-2score-2score-2score-2score-1 

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 […] (Link to online store)

On an Autumn Night: Classical Korean Poetry
Ed Richard Mayer tr Richard Mayer
Independently published, 2018

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 […] (Link to online store)

The Foresight of Dark Knowing
Trad / anon tr John Jorgensen
University of Hawai'i Press, 2018

Full title: The Foresight of Dark Knowing: Chŏng Kam Nok and Insurrectionary Prognostication in Pre-Modern Korea From the publisher’s website: Korea has long had an underground insurrectionary literature. The best-known example of the genre is the Chŏng Kam nok, a collection of premodern texts predicting the overthrow of the Yi Dynasty (1392–1910) that in recent times has […] (Link to online store)

The Aphorisms of Yi Deok-mu: Musings of a Grateful Reader
Yi Deok-mu tr Jung Min, Kim Ji-yung
Cambridge Scholars, 2018

From the publisher’s website: This volume brings together excerpts from Seongyuldang nongso [蟬橘堂濃笑: The Inexorable Glee of Master Seongyuldang] and Imokgusimseo [耳目口心書: First-hand Observations] by the 18th-century scholar Yi Deok-mu. Seongyuldang nongso is a collection of Yi’s observations about life. In Imokgusimseo, Yi writes about what he heard, saw, said, and felt in the day-to-day. […] (Link to online store)

Premodern Korean Literary Prose: An Anthology
Ed Michael J. Pettid, Gregory N. Evon, Chan E. Park tr Chan E Park, Chang Wang-rok, Michael J Pettid
Columbia University Press, 2018

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 […] (Link to online store)

The Song of Ch’unhyang: Musical Text as compiled by Master Singer Kim Yŏn-su
Trad / anon tr Ah-jeong Kim, RB Graves
LTI Korea, 2017

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 […] (Link to eBook / PDF / online text)

An Anthology of Traditional Korean Literature
Ed Peter H. Lee tr David R McCann, Kim Chong-un, Marshall R Pihl, Peter H Lee, Richard Rutt, Seo Daeseok
University of Hawai'i Press, 2017

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 […] (Link to online store)

Classical Writings of Korean Women
Kim Keum-won, Trad / anon tr Kyung-Nyun Kim Richards, Steffen F Richards
LTI Korea, 2016

This work is a collection of essays travelogues written by women during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The work ranges from a eulogy for a broken needle to a travelogue describing various trips to scenic spots on the Korean peninsula, including to the Keum-Gang Mountains. Now available in English, this collection gives us a sampler of […] (Link to eBook / PDF / online text)

The Story of Hong Gildong
tr Minsoo Kang
Penguin, 2016
score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0 

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 […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Score One for the Dancing Girl
Ed Ross King and Sinae Park tr James Scarth Gale
University of Toronto Press, 2016

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 […] (Link to online store)

Korea’s Great Buddhist-Confucian Debate: The Treatises of Chŏng Tojŏn (Sambong) and Hamhŏ Tŭkt’ong (Kihwa)
A Charles Muller, Gihwa, Jeong Dojeon tr A Charles Muller
University of Hawai'i Press, 2015

From the publisher’s website: This volume makes available in English the seminal treatises in Korea’s greatest interreligious debate of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. On Mind, Material Force, and Principle and An Array of Critiques of Buddhism by Confucian statesman Chŏng Tojŏn (1342–1398) and Exposition of Orthodoxy by Sŏn monk Kihwa (1376–1433) are presented here with extensive annotation. A substantial introduction […] (Link to online store)

Eerie Tales from Old Korea
Ed Brother Anthony of Taizé tr Homer B. Hulbert, James Scarth Gale
Seoul Selection, 2014

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). […] (Link to online store)

The Book Of Korean Poetry: Choson Dynasty
Ed Kevin O'Rourke tr Kevin O'Rourke
Stallion Press, 2014

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 […] (Link to online store)

The Crane in the Clouds: Shijo: Korean Classical Poems in the Vernacular
Ed Sung-Il Lee tr Lee Sung-il
Homa + Sekey, 2013

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 […] (Link to online store)

Korean Tea Classics by Hanjae Yi Mok and the Venerable Cho-ui
Hanjae Yi Mok, Ven Cho-ui tr Brother Anthony of Taizé, Hong Kyeong-hee, Steven D Owyoung
Seoul Selection, 2011
score-2score-2score-2score-0score-0 

Publisher description: Three ancient texts expressing the essence of the Korean Way of Tea are here translated into English for the first time. The oldest, ChaBu (Rhapsody to Tea), by Hanjae Yi Mok (1471-1498), is a sophisticated and delicate celebration of tea. The author was a scholar of considerable attainments who died far too early. […] (Link to online store)

Jehol Diary
Pak Chiwon tr Yang Hi Choe-Wall
Global Oriental, 2010
score-2score-2score-2score-0score-0 

Publisher description: This is the first translation into English of the eighteenth-century Korean masterpiece entitled Yŏrha ilgi (‘The Jehol Diary’) by Pak Chiwŏn (1737-1805). The original text was written in classical Chinese and is a notoriously difficult work to translate. Pak Chiwŏn diarises the experiences of his remarkable overland journey on horseback from the northern border […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

The Brush and the Sword: Kasa, Korean Classical Poems in Prose
Ed Sung-Il Lee tr Lee Sung-il
Cross Cultural Communications, 2009

Bilingual Edition. Translated from the Korean & Introduced with Commentaries & Notes by Sung-Il Lee. Sung-Il Lee lays before us samples of the great classical form of Korean poetry called Kasa, so sadly unknown to western readers along with any coherent knowledge of the country’s past and its culture. One will be so much better […] (Link to online store)

The Book of Korean Poetry: Songs of Shilla and Koryo
Ed Kevin O'Rourke tr Kevin O'Rourke
University of Iowa Press, 2006

From the publisher’s website: “Here at last in one English-language volume is the heart and soul of the Korean lyric tradition, brought to sensuous life by a poet who is our finest all-around translator of Korean literature.”—Bruce Fulton, Young-Bin Min Chair in Korean Literature and Literary Translation, University of British Columbia Korea’s history is divided […] (Link to online store)

Because of the Rain: A Selection of Korean Zen Poems
Ed Won-Chung Kim and Christopher Merrill tr Christopher Merrill, Kim Won-Chung
White Pine Press, 2006

From the publisher’s website: Buddhism was introduced to Korea via China in the fifth century and similar to China and Japan a long tradition of Zen poetry developed. This collection spans 1,500 years of this tradition with a selection of the key poets and teachers starting with Great Master Wonhyo the founder of Korean Zen […] (Link to online store)

A Shijo Poet at the Court of King Sonjo
Chong Ch'ol tr Kevin O'Rourke
Kegan Paul Intl, 2005

“A Shijo Poet at the Court of King Sonjo: The Pine River Songs” is a translation of Songgang kasa, Chong Ch’ol’s (1536-1593) famous collection of Korean songs. The translations are by Kevin O’Rourke, one of the foremost translators of Korean literature into English in the world today. The volume includes a biographical sketch of the […] (Link to online store)

Vision of a Phoenix
Ho Nansorhon tr Yang Hi Choe-Wall
Cornell East Asia Series, 2003

From the publisher’s website: The biography and writings of Ho Nansorhon (1563–1589), one of the finest poets of the entire Choson dynasty, who wrote during the Golden Age of Sino-Korean poetry. This period also witnessed the Confucianization of Korean society, when government-imposed sanctions greatly restricted the lives of Korean women, particularly those of the ruling […] (Link to online store)

A Hundred Love Poems from Old Korea
Ed Kevin O'Rourke tr Kevin O'Rourke
Global Oriental, 2003

From the publisher’s website: Korea’s traditional love poetry is little known in the West. This anthology contains examples of all genres: vernacular to long lyrical poems. A witty informative commentary links the poems and sets them in context. (Link to online store)

The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Korean Poetry
Ed Peter H. Lee tr Peter H Lee
Columbia University Press, 2002

From the publisher’s website: This groundbreaking anthology, edited by the veteran scholar who founded the field of Korean literature in the West, offers a representative selection from the four major genres of native Korean poetry: the Silla songs known as hyangga, Koryo songs, sijo, and kasa. The performance of oral songs was central to the […] (Link to online store)

The Book of Corrections: Reflections on the National Crisis During the Japanese Invasion of Korea, 1592-1598
Yu Songnyong tr Choi Byonghyon
Univ of California Berkeley Institute of East Asian Studies, 2002

From the publisher’s website: The Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592, known as the Imjin War, was one of the most tragic and traumatic experiences in Korean history. The magnitude of this tragedy was unprecedented. Hundreds of thousands died, and the country was devastated. It took many years for Korea to recover. Looking back upon […] (Link to online store)

Among the Flowering Reeds: An Anthology of Classic Korean Poetry Written in Chinese
Ed Kim Jong-gil tr Kim Jong-gil
White Pine Press, 2002

From the publisher’s website: Up until the 17th century, the bulk of Korean poetry was written in Chinese, the language of poets, scholars, and monks. This work became an integral part of Korean literary tradition. Among the Flowering Reeds, which introduces this important poetic tradition to the English-speaking audience, includes 100 poems spanning more than 1,000 […] (Link to online store)

Meditative Poems by Korean Monks
Ed Jaihiun Kim tr Kim Jaihiun
Jain Publishing, 2002

From the publisher’s website: Introduced and Translated by Jaihiun Kim This work is a chronological anthology of Zen poetry spanning the 6th through the 20th centuries. In his introduction the translator distinguishes Zen from other forms of Buddhism, and places it in its historical context. These intuitive poems chronicle the spiritual search as well as […] (Link to online store)

The Book of Korean Shijo
Ed Kevin O'Rourke tr Kevin O'Rourke
Harvard, 2002

From the publisher’s website: The Korean genre known as shijo is short song lyrics. Originally meant to be sung rather than recited, these short poems are light, personal, and very often conversational. The language is simple, direct, and devoid of elaboration or ornamentation. The shijo poet gives a firsthand account of his personal experience of […] (Link to online store)

The Record of the Black Dragon Year
Trad / anon tr Peter H Lee
University of Hawai'i Press, 2000

From the publisher’s website: The Imjin nok, or Record of the Black Dragon Year, is the first popular tale inspired by the Japanese invasion of Korea between 1592 and 1598. As a collection of folk narratives clustered around major events and characters, it exists in some forty manuscript and printed versions, long and short, in […] (Link to online store)

The Bamboo Grove: An Introduction to Sijo
Ed Richard Rutt (Editor) David McCann (Foreword) tr Richard Rutt
University of Michigan Press, 1998

From the publisher’s website: Series: Ann Arbor Paperbacks The sijo is the most popular and most Korean of all traditional Korean poetic forms, originating with the old songs of the Hyangka of the Sylla Empire (668-936) and the prose songs of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392). Sometimes likened to haiku for its brevity, a typical sijo poem follows […] (Link to online store)

The Moonlit Pond: Korean Classical Poems in Chinese
Ed Sung-il Lee tr Lee Sung-il
Copper Canyon, 1998

From the publisher’s website: Unlike poetry written in the vernacular, classical Korean poetry was heavily influenced by the great poets of the Tang and Sung dynasties and was written in Chinese, while reflecting a perspective which was uniquely Korean. This is the first and only comprehensive anthology of classical Korean poetry to appear in English. […] (Link to online store)

Songs of the Kisaeng
Ed Wolhee Choe, Constantine Contogenis tr Choe Wolhee, Constantine Contogenis
BOA Editions, 1997

Original Korean poems, written during the 16th and 17th centuries, and contemporary English translations. The original BOA Editions publication is now hard to find. Apparently however it is available as an eBook from LTI Korea. According to their website: This e-book was made by scanning and converting the original book using OCR software. We have […] (Link to online store)

The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong
Hong Hyegyong, JaHyun Kim Haboush tr JaHyun Kim Haboush
University of California Press, 1996
score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0 

Lady Hyegyong’s memoirs, which recount the chilling murder of her husband by his father, form one of the best known and most popular classics of Korean literature. From 1795 until 1805 Lady Hyegyong composed this masterpiece, depicting a court life Shakespearean in its pathos, drama, and grandeur. Presented in its social, cultural, and historical contexts, […] (Link to online store) LKL Review

Singing Like a Cricket, Hooting Like an Owl
Yi Kyu-bo tr Kevin O'Rourke
Cornell East Asia Series, 1995

From the publisher’s website: Kyu-bo Yi (1168–1241), the greatest of the classical Korean poets, was born into a very turbulent period of history, when the Koryo kingdom was threatened from the north by barbarians and from within by the ongoing struggle for supremacy among the various factions. His poems, confessional and transcendent, describe moments of […] (Link to online store)

Classical Korean Poetry
Ed Jaihiun Kim tr Kim Jaihiun
Jain Publishing, 1994

From the publisher’s website: Introduced and Translated by Jaihiun Kim The 600 verses presented in this anthology will provide the reader with comprehensive and varied aspects of the sijo, the traditional Korean lyric, since its emergence as a fixed literary form as early as the late 12th century down to the 19th century. (Link to online store)

The Korean Singer of Tales
Marshall R Pihl, Trad / anon tr Marshall R Pihl
Harvard, 1994
score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0 

Publisher description: P’ansori, the traditional oral narrative of Korea, is sung by a highly trained soloist to the accompaniment of complex drumming. The singer both narrates the story and dramatizes all the characters, male and female. Performances require as long as six hours and make extraordinary vocal demands. In the first book-length treatment in English […] (Link to online store)

Pine River and Lone Peak: An Anthology of Three Choson Dynasty Poets
Ed Peter H Lee tr Peter H Lee
University of Hawai'i Press, 1991

From the publisher’s website: Taken from the pen names Chong Ch’ol and Yun Sondo, respectively, Pine River and Lone Peak represents the works of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Korean masters of the short lyric poetry (sijo) and narrative verse (kasa) forms. This new translation also includes the works of Pak Illo, as well as a […] (Link to online store)

Korean Classical Literature: An Anthology
Ed Chung Chong-wha tr Chung Chong-wha
Kegan Paul Intl, 1989

LKL says: It looks like this title has now been digitised. According to the LTI Korea website, where you can probably acquire an eBook, the volume includes works by Pak Chiwon and Yi Injik. This is confirmed by a quick scan of the contents page which you can see on the Kindle version. Hard copies […] (Link to online store)

Slow Chrysanthemums: Classical Korean Poems in Chinese
Ed Kim Jong-gil tr Kim Jong-gil
Anvil Press, 1987

Kim Jong-gil’s personal anthology of one hundred Korean poems written in Chinese covers a period of over a thousand years, from the late ninth century to the beginning of the twentieth. In his introduction to this fascinating poetry, Kim Jong-gil traces the background to the literary use of Chinese in Korea, and discusses the features […] (Link to online store)

Love in mid-winter night: Korean sijo poetry
Ed Chung Chong-wha tr Chung Chong-wha
Kegan Paul Intl, 1985

No information available (Link to online store)

Black Crane: An Anthology of Korean Literature
Ed David R McCann tr David R McCann
Cornell East Asia Series, 1977

Difficult to obtain other than in a couple of libraries in Denmark and Germany. (Link to online store)

Nanjung Ilgi: war diary of admiral Yi Sun-sin
Yi Sun-sin tr Ha Tae-Hung
Yonsei University Press, 1977

The text of Korea’s 76th national treasure, listed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World registry. Second-hand copies are occasionally available, for a price (eg, at the time of writing Amazon has a copy available at over £1,000); and you can find it in specialist libraries. LTI Korea advertise the title as being available to purchase […] (Link to online store)

Poems from Korea: A historical anthology
Ed Peter H Lee tr Peter H Lee
University of Hawai'i Press, 1974

Compiled and translated by Peter H. Lee. Foreword by Norman Holmes Pearson Billed as the UNESCO collection of representative works, this volume contains works by many authors, from King Mu of Paekche onwards. According to Stanford University’s Searchworks, this collection was first published in 1964 under the title: Anthology of Korean poetry from the earliest […] (Link to online store)

Virtuous Women – Three Classic Korean Novels
Kim Man-jung, Trad / anon tr Kim Chong-un, Richard Rutt
RASKB, 1974
score-2score-2score-2score-1score-0 

Contains the following classics: A nine cloud dream by Kim Man-jung The true history of Queen Inhyŏn The song of a faithful wife, Ch’un-hyang (Link to online store)

Samguk Yusa: Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms of Ancient Korea
Ilyon tr Grafton Mintz, Ha Tae-Hung
Yonsei University Press, 1972

A fascinating work, dating from the late 1200s. This book (Yusa), is not just a story but a collection of histories, anecdotes and memorabilia, covering the origins of Korea’s three monarchies: Silla, Paekche and Koguryo, offering an account of the latter nation that differs quite a bit from what you’ll read in Chinese history books. […] (Link to online store)

Anthology of Korean Poetry from the Earliest Era to the Present
Ed Peter H Lee tr Peter H Lee
John Day, 1964

From the back cover: This is the first comprehensive anthology of Korean poetry ever published in the English language. In it Peter H. Lee, a Korean scholar, has selected and translated the verse of his country, ranging from the beginning of the Silla Dynasty, in 57 B.C., to the middle of the twentieth century. LKL […] (Link to online store)

Voices of the Dawn
Ed Peter Hyun tr Peter Hyun
John Murray, 1960

A Selection of Korean Poetry from the Sixth Century to the Present Day Also available from LTI Korea. No further information available (Link to online store)

Folk Tales from Korea
Ed Zong In-sob tr Zong In-sob
Hollym, Routledge, 1952

From the publisher’s website: Folk Tales from Korea is a fun way to access to the Korean ethos.  Enjoy these folk tales handed down through the generations and you will gain a better understanding of the Korean people.  You will most certainly recognize the Confucius influence on people’s lives. “These 99 examples are as various as they are enjoyable, some […] (Link to online store)

Songs from Korea
Ed Pyun Yung-tai tr Pyun Yung-Tai
Y.T. Pyun, 1936

Like the similar volume, Tales from Korea, this title was originally self-published (in 1936) and then republished on several occasions. For example the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has in its library a copy of the 1948 International Cultural Association of Korea edition. The Koreana Museum in Seoul has a copy of the 1936 edition […]

The Orchid Door
Ed Joan S Grigsby tr James Scarth Gale, Jessie McLaren, Joan S Grigsby
J L Thompson, 1935

“Usually considered to be the first volume of Korean poetry in English translation ever published”: Brother Anthony gives the background to the printing of this set of translations of ancient Korean poems, a volume illustrated by Lilian Miller. As he explains, Grigsby reworked some literal translations by James Scarth Gale and others, “taking them into […] (Link to online store)

Tales from Korea
Ed Pyun Yung-tai tr Pyun Yung-Tai
Y.T. Pyun, 1934

According to Worthpoint, “17 editions [were] published between 1934 and 1963 in English”. WorldCat has the 1934 edition being self-published, with subsequent versions being published by a range of houses. Difficult to obtain nowadays, though Amazon US is currently listing a copy of the 1946 edition with a price reflecting its rarity. Copies are kept […] (Link to online store)

The Cloud Dream of the Nine, a Korean Novel: A Story of the Times of the Tangs of China About 840 A.D
Kim Man-jung tr James Scarth Gale
D O'Connor, 1922

From the introduction (reproduced in WorldCat) The reader must lay aside all Western notions of morality if he would thoroughly enjoy this book. The scene of the amazing Cloud Dream of the Nine, the most moving romance of polygamy ever written, is laid about 849 A.D. in the period of the great Chinese dynasty of […] (Link to online store)

Korean Folk Tales: Imps, Ghosts and Fairies
Im Bang, Yi Ryuk tr James Scarth Gale
JM Dent, 1913

From James Scarth Gale’s preface: To any one who would like to look somewhat into the inner soul of the Oriental, and see the peculiar spiritual existences among which he lives, the following stories will serve as true interpreters, born as they are of the three great religions of the Far East, Taoism, Buddhism and […] (Link to online store)