Finding Korean literature in English.
So. What The Book? is a great website for ordering foreign books. There’s a lot that they don’t have, but there’s also a lot that you can get lucky with. However, in regards to ordering Korean literature, it’s pretty much atrocious. As are the collections available in English at the major chain stores in Korea.
There are several bookstores around Seoul that cater more to that market, but as I live in Incheon, getting to them a bit more of an errand for me than it is for some others, unless I have some other reason to be in the area. And in that case, I usually don’t have time to drop in anyway.
Ordering from Amazon is expensive and a bit of a hassle, and it takes forever for the books to come.
Seoul Selection is the easiest solution I’ve found. The collection isn’t huge, but it’s decent enough, and includes traditional literature as well as a lot of the new releases (disappointingly, though, not Factory Girl Literature: Sexuality, Violence and Representation in Industrializing Korea, which I’m really looking to get my hands on). The other great thing about Seoul Selection is that a lot of the books come in bilingual editions.
I just placed a big order with Seoul Selection this week, and a smaller one with What the Book?. These are the things that are on the way:
From Seoul Selection:
- The Wings by Yi Sang
- Deep Blue Night by Choe In-ho
- Chinatown (Modern Korean Short Stories) by Oh Jung-hee
- A Ready-Made Life: Early Masters of Korean Fiction edited by Bruce Fulton and Kim Chong-un
- Writing Across Boundaries: Literature in the Multicultural World edited by Kim Uchang
- A Cup of Tea at Panmunjom by Theresa Hyun
- The Dwarf by Cho Se-Hui
- Korean Writers: The Poets
- Korean Writers: The Novelists
All of that for under 100,000 won, delivered. There’s not much information listed explaining what the last two are, but I’m assuming it’s a kind of introductory outline. At two thousand won each, I reckon I didn’t have much to lose, and they could be a good resource for finding new works to read.
From What the Book?:
- On Translation by Paul Ricoeur (the book suggested by Brother Anthony in the interview I posted before)
- The Gloria Anzaldua Reader
- Echoing Song: Contemporary Korean Women Poets edited by Peter Lee
So, those are the things that are in the works.