Modern Korean Fiction: An Anthology

edited by Bruce Fulton and Youngmin Kwon
Columbia University Press, 2005.

To represent the past century of Korean fiction, this collection extends beyond familiar writers, challenges cultural norms, and crosses political borders. By including stories from neglected female, North Korean, and “wlbuk” writers (those who migrated to the North after 1945 and whose works were widely banned in South Korea) and by bringing politically engaged works together with experimental ones, this anthology articulates the ruptures and resolutions that have marked the peninsula.

From sketches of desperate peasants in straitened circumstances to fast-moving, visceral tales of contemporary South Korea, the works in this collection bear witness to the dramatic transformations and events in twentieth-century Korean history, including Japanese colonial rule, civil war, and economic modernization in the South. The writers explore these developments through a variety of literary and political lenses, revealing with precision and poignancy their impact on Korean society and the lives of ordinary Koreans. This anthology includes an introduction, which synthesizes the key developments in modern Korean literature, and a comprehensive bibliography of Korean fiction in translation. (Publisher’s description)

Bruce Fulton occupies the Young-Bin Min Chair in Korean Literature and Literary Translation at the University of British Columbia. He is the co-translator of Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers; Land of Exile: Contemporary Korean Fiction; and A Ready-Made Life: Early Masters of Modern Korean Fiction.

Youngmin Kwon is professor of Korean literature at Seoul National University.