Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Columbia University Press Notes Translations of Korean Literature by Sun-Ae and Me!

Another review has recently appeared, though more on the KLTI's Library of Korea series generally (Dalkey Archive Press) than specifically on individual translations, but Esther Kim -- publicity assistant at Columbia University Press -- has at least mentioned the two translations that Sun-Ae and I did:
The editors of the "Library of Korean Literature" have included the writings of artists who have moved and still move against the grain, and their selection is key in implicitly working to undo the 'new depthlessness'. Some of the works are chosen from the canon, such as Yi Kwang-Su's The Soil. But some are transgressive and experimental and defy the conformity encouraged by Korean values. One example of this kind of writing is Jang Jung-il's When Adam Opens His Eyes (Translated by Hwang Sun-ae and Horace Jeffrey Hodges). Published in Korean in 1990, When Adam Opens His Eyes defies the conservative climate of South Korea with its frank descriptions of sex and a school dropout protagonist, who's obsessed with cultural theory and rock music in the 1980s. Inspired by Georges Bataille's pornographic writing, Jang Jung Il's novel is a transgressive coming-of-age story. These stories demonstrate how Korean literature has maintained a dialogue with European writing for the last two centuries. These stories are history, too, punctuations in a historical continuum. (Esther Kim, "Thursday Fiction Corner: The Library of Korean Literature Series," April 24th, 2014)
I have to admit that Jang Jung-il's "frank descriptions of sex" were at times excruciating to work on, but that's another story. Sun-Ae and I are each grateful for this brief review, which mentions both of our translations, but I see that I have a struggle ahead of me in getting reviewers to spell my middle name correctly -- not that I'm annoyed, mind you, for this sort of thing happens so often that I've come to expect it. But I'll notify the heterographic offenders anyway.

My name's at least rightly written here!

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At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff, I hear you on the name spelling business. Ever since giving in to my own self at age 18 or so and proclaiming myself thereafter to be "Charley" per my birth cert (and more pertinently, my college student ID...), it's been a struggle to get people to spell it right...but I suppose there are bigger problems in the world. (and my biz partner, Sammy, also per Arkansan birth cert, has had it a LOT worse than me!) --Pete (just for good measure...)

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Okay, Charley, I know your name got a lot of ribbing in its full glory, too: "Charley Peters Hale."

Not as bad, though, as the many variants on "Horace."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it pronounced differently as well, or just spelled differently? I.e. "Jeffrey" is generally pronounced "jeff-ree". Is it pronounced like that, or is pronounced like "jeff-er-ee"?

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

They should be pronounced differently.

Jeffery Hodges

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