Literature in Translation

I’m back! Thanks for your patience in the interim.

World literature has become an increasingly potent interest of mine, and though I have had little exposure to Korean literature, I would love to read some when I have the opportunity.

Helping provide that opportunity for English-speakers are two Seattle natives recently featured in the Seattle Times.

That’s one reason I’ve chosen this article, “Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton bring Korean literature to the English-speaking world,” by Mary Ann Gwinn, for the next ProfoundNet.

Here’s a snippet:

Translation is an exacting business; hours and hours of reading, writing, looking things up, then pondering words that may or may not have an equivalent in English. Montlake’s Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton recently received a major validation for their labors: they won Korea’s Daesan Foundation’s translation prize for their work on “There a Petal Silently Falls: Three Stories by Ch’oe Yun” (Columbia University Press).

The article goes on to say that the Fultons have helped to make available works that might otherwise go unnoticed:

The two have been able to translate Korean writers who have fallen under the radar of the Korean literary establishment, particularly women writers of short stories. Korean writers are expected to be “cognizant of the modern tragedy of Korean history,” Bruce says. “Until recently, if you wrote out of imagination, with a sense of humor or playfulness, you were considered a lightweight, not to be taken seriously.”

Besides providing a window into another culture, the immersion necessary for accurate translation is an excellent way to draw attention to the nuances–and peculiarities–of your own language, as well as the language being translated. What better way to explore the many facets of literature?

And now that my graduate program is finished for the summer, I’m looking forward to reading There a Petal Silently Falls. I hope you’ll join me!

Thanks, Mary Ann, for a thought-provoking article.

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2 Responses to Literature in Translation

  1. For a slightly deeper (but not too deep!) exploration of Korean literature (modern) in translation, take a look at my blog,
    http://www.ktlit.com
    or

    ktlit if HTML works here. 😉

  2. jenecrit says:

    Thanks! I enjoyed browsing your site. If you could recommend (a collection of) stories or poetry you think are especially well translated, I would love to check it out!

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