English translation of "Three Generations" by Yom Sang-seop to be published
|Oranckay got there first, apparently as a consequence of a posting in The List, to tell that an English translation of a novel from 1931 by Yom Sang-seop, "Three Generations" (三代/Samdae) will be published in English and that it's required reading for all interested in modern Korea. Three Generations, first published as a serial in Chosun Ilbo is about - three generations in the colonial Korea. An educational site Koreannote has a good introduction of the book and the storyline in Korean, made to prepare Korean highschoolers for the graduation exam. The three generations are the grandfather Cho Ûi-gwan, a traditionally-minded landowner who buys himself a lineage genealogy (chokpo) to go for a yangban; the father Cho Sang-hun, who has accepted the new things as his own but still lives by wasting the family fortune; son Cho Tôk-ki, who has a good character but is caught in the discord between the father and grandfather and lives an irresolute (uyubudanhada) life.|
Let's quote from the publisher's site:
Three Generations charts the tensions in the Jo family in 1930s Japanese-occupied Seoul. Yom’s keenly observant eye reveals family tensions with profound insight. His characters are so alive that if you cut the pages they might bleed. Delving deeply into each character’s history and beliefs, he illuminates the diverse pressures and impulses driving each one. This Korean classic also brings forth the larger issues at hand, revealing Korea’s situation under Japanese rule, the traditional Korean familial structure, political movements of the 1930s (both national and international), and the battle between the modern and the traditional. Touted as one of Korea’s most important works of fiction, Three Generations gave birth to naturalism in Korean literature. Best representing the Seoul dialect of the time, Yom is celebrated even today for his contributions to Korean literature; Three Generations remains a mandatory read for high school students. The long-awaited publication of this masterpiece is a vital addition to canonical Korean literature in English.
The first part of "Three Generations" published in Chosun Ilbo in January 1, 1931 (linked from an education site Koreannote) Seems that the illustrations were done An Sôk-chu, here appearing as An Sôk (安夕), whose illustrated writings (manmun manhwa) from the 1930s were the subject of Sin Myông-jik's Modôn ppoi Kyôngsôngûl kônilda, a study of the images of modernity in the colonial Korea (see the sidebar for the book cover).
And finally, let's quote from the same Koreannote page a passage from the first part which is in the picture above, "Two Friends", to see what Yom's prose is like and if I could cope with the Korean original:
Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: books ∙ literature/movies ∙ contemp.history ∙ modernization