Land of Exile: Contemporary Korean Fiction

Land of Exile: Contemporary Korean Fiction

Land of Exile: Contemporary Korean Fiction

Land of Exile: Contemporary Korean Fiction

Synopsis

"Since its original publication, Land of Exile has become the standard English-language anthology of post-1945 Korean short fiction. This new edition renews and enriches the first. The selections have been expanded to include four new stories. In addition, Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton have revised the introduction, updated the headnotes, repolished translations, and appended a list of further readings. What has not changed is what the anthology offers readers: a vivid gateway to the history, society, and culture of contemporary South Korea and unforgettable stories, with the motif of exile in Korea's experience of modernity."

Excerpt

In general, we can consider that contemporary Korean fiction developed in three stages.

First, we can identify the short course of growth that began immediately after the end of World War II and lasted until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. During this period, Korean fiction ceased to be a scarce item. However, it is difficult to single out works of fiction from this first stage, one reason being that the very conceptions of literature divided into "pure" and "class" orientations and, in a context where criticism and exculpation had collided, served to summon up the emotions of the history of recent decades or to depict dismal realities of the present. The fiction of this period is thus noted for re-creating the tragedy of the colonial experience or for criticizing the humiliations and frustrations of this period.

The second stage ran from the end of the Korean War through the early 1960s. In this period the literary establishment was reorganized with the emergence of the so-called postwar writers' group. Within the grim existence defined by the civil war, which hardened the national division, and the subsequent refugee experience and recovery of Seoul from the northern side, literature sought some sort of response to Korea's tragic realities. The postwar writers' group, depicting the ruins in which they stood, evinced a rootless and frustrated struggle and saw . . .

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