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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Rereading Jo Jung-rae's "Han'gang"

I've started rereading the novelist Jo Jung-rae's 10-volume Han'gang, an epic work describing Korea from 1959 to 1980 through a wide variety of characters. The main characters are two brothers who in the beginning of the story move from Chôlla-do (Jeolla) to Seoul to go to school; not small part of their life is determined by the fact that their father had gone (or had been taken) to North during the Korean war. The other characters are for example a rich (and pro-Japanese) member of parliament, retired officers, poor chige carriers, gangsters, Germany-bound nurses and miners, factory girls, white-collar office men, young prosecutors to name a few.

I'd like to blog about it more, as it gives a really rich picture of those two decades of urban migration, industrialization, Park Chung-hee's presidency and military authoritarianism, political and labor struggles, and ordinary peoples' lives, but I really do have more urgent things to do... All I can do is to really recommend the book; it is not that easy read, but at least the dialect in the dialogue gets fewer as the book proceeds.

Ended up in a site where someone has collected proverbs used in Han'gang: volume 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: