Formally audacious and remarkably compelling, Yi Sang's works were uniquely situated amid the literary experiments of world literature in the early twentieth century and the political upheaval of 1930s Japanese occupied Korea. While his life ended prematurely at the age of twenty-seven, Yi Sang's work endures as one of the great revolutionary legacies of modern Korean literature. Presenting the work of the influential Korean modernist master, this carefully curated selection assembles poems, essays, and stories that ricochet off convention in a visionary and daring response to personal and national trauma, reminding us that to write from the avant-garde is a form of civil disobedience.
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About the Author
Yi Sang (1920-1937) was a painter, architect, poet and writer of 1930s Korea, when Korean peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule. Yi Sang wrote and published in both Korean and Japanese until his early death from tuberculosis at the age of 27, after imprisonment by Japanese police for thought crimes in Tokyo. His work shows innovative engagement with European modernism, especially that of Surrealism and Dada. He is considered one of the most experimental writers of Korean modernism.
Don Mee Choi's translations deftly activate a visionary poetry of great speed, volume, and vision.--judges of the The 2019 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize
Yi Sang's poetry seemed to deny the prerogatives of the mundane world while being saturated with the alienation and horror of the Occupation.
--Joyelle McSweeney, Entropy
The three stories in this collection are brilliant; painfully dark jewels from an author without much optimism about anything, but with a keen eye for absurdity.
--Charles Montgomery, Korean Literature in Translation