Yi Chong-jun

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Yi Chong-Jun
Yi Cheong-Jun.jpg
Born August 9, 1939
Died July 31, 2008(2008-07-31) (aged 68)
Language Korean
Nationality South Korean
Ethnicity Korean
Citizenship South Korean
Alma mater Seoul National University
Korean name
Hangul 이청준
Hanja
Revised Romanization I Cheong-jun
McCune–Reischauer Yi Ch'ong-chun
This is a Korean name; the family name is Lee.

Yi Chong-jun (This is the preferred Romanization per LTI Korea[1]) was a prominent South Korean novelist.[2] Throughout his four decade-long career, Lee wrote more than 100 short stories, 13 novels.[3] He died from lung cancer at the age of 68 on July 31, 2008.[4]

Life[edit]

Born in 1939, Yi Chong-jun graduated with a degree in German literature from Seoul National University. In 1965, he debuted with a short story titled Toewon (퇴원, lit. "Leaving the Hospital").[5] Two years later, he won a Dongin Literature Award for Stupid and Fool (Byeongsingwa Meojeori, 병신과 머저리).

Work[edit]

Yi is one of the foremost writers of the 4.19 Generation[6] and his literary output since has been both steady in pace and considerable in volume, and his subject matter has been varied. “An Imbecile and an Idiot” (Byeongsin gwa mejeori, 1966) probes the spiritual malaise of the post-war Korean youth; This Paradise of Yours (Dangsindeurui cheonguk, 1976) explores the dialectics of charity and will to power, with the leper colony of Sorokdo Island as the backdrop; and The Fire Worshipers (Bihwa milgyo, 1985) meditates on the meaning of human rituals conducted in a Godless society when no ultimate guarantee of the absolute can be given. Lee Cheong-jun’s fiction encompasses a broad range of political, existential and metaphysical concerns.[7]

One of the recurrent themes in his fiction, however, has been the concern with language as a vehicle of truth. The Walls of Rumor (Somunui byeok, 1972) describes the ways in which freedom of speech was repressed in the ideologically charged atmosphere of Korean society in the era of national division. Stories contained in the collection In Search of Lost Words (Ireobeorin mareul chajaseo, 1981) continue the investigation of the effect of political violence on language. Because thought cannot be separate from the modes of its expression, distortions of language in a politically repressive society effect psychological damages as well. The tyranny of political and social systems as they become internalized in individual psyches?becomes inextricably bound to questions of language in?Lee Cheongjun’s fiction.[8]

Another favorite theme is the role of art in life. Such early stories as “The Falconer” (Maejabi) and “The Target” (Gwanyeok) feature artisans dedicated to the perfection of their craft, often at the cost of conventional happiness. In more recent years,?Lee Cheongjun has drawn on forms of traditional folk art and the Korean spirit embodied in them as a source of inspiration. For example, the fictional work “Seopyeonje” (1993) foregrounds the genre of pansori, a traditional Korean oral performance which features a singer of tales accompanied by a single drummer. Here, artistic expression becomes both a mode of reconciliation to life, in spite of its countless woes, and ultimately of its transcendence. Made into a blockbuster feature film, “Seopyeonje” also helped revive great popular interest in the art of pansori.[9]

Works in Translation[edit]

  • The Snowy Road and Other Stories (단편소설선 <눈길>)
  • This Paradise of Yours (당신들의 천국)
  • The Prophet and Other Stories (이청준 소설선 <예언자> 외)
  • Seopyeonje (서편제)
  • The Cruel City and Other Korean Short Stories (한국대표단편선(2))
  • The Abject

Works in Korean (partial)[edit]

Many of his works have been adapted into movies or drama series by leading directors. Among them are:

According to a critic, Kim Byeong-ik (김병익), Lee opened a new pace of Korean literature before the true modern literature of Korea was established in 1960s.[10]

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Author Database". LTI Korea. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "이청준" biographical PDF available at LTI Korea Library or online at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ Garcia, Cathy Rose A. (31 July 2008). "Novelist Lee Cheong-jun Dies". The Korea Times. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Renowned Novelist Lee Cheong-Jun Dies at 68". KBS World. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Lee explores theme of utopia". The Korea Herald. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Yi Chong-jun". Korean Writers The Novelists. Minumsa Press. 2005. p. 236. 
  7. ^ "Lee Chong-jun" LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Ma Jonggi" LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Ma Jonggi" LTI Korea Datasheet available at LTI Korea Library or online at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  10. ^ http://media.daum.net/culture/art/view.html?cateid=1021&newsid=20080731204510368&cp=YTN

External links[edit]