This article about Korean literature is worth a look, especially once you wade through the filler intro (can we at last dispense with the phrase "neon-saturated"?) and the sweeping generalizations about Korea which litter it.

Nevertheless, it makes some observations about the relative invisibility of Korean literature in the U.S. and the globe more widely, and presents the directed Korean state response to the problem.

This is a telling section:

"Still, when it comes to American recognition, Korea has a ways to go. Charles Montgomery, a California native who’s now a professor in Seoul and the proprietor of a lively literary blog, puts it this way: “Imagine, we’re drinking martinis with a bunch of educated people, and I say, ‘Who is your favorite Japanese author?’ You can say one of ten names. ‘Who is your favorite French author?’ One of ten names.” Montgomery continues: “But ‘Who is your favorite Korean author?’ Everyone will run to refill their drinks.”

When people ask me, I of course always start with the obvious and best, in my estimation: Ko Un.  I also like O Chōnghūi and Kim Young-ha. I've thought about using the latter in my class recently. A lot of the Korean stuff I admit I have thought about in terms of pedagogical usefulness. Not
Ko Un, there is nothing quite as arresting as reading him. I use him in class too, of course, how could I not?

I am pretty excited about Dalkey Press publishing this whole slew of new translations. Now I just need to find the time to read them.

Sometime when it is not 2 in the morning and I am not out of time I will lay out the article I am working on that looks at the detective fiction of South Korea alongside that set in (though it is not of) North Korea.


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