literature

Korea Blog Podcast: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian” & Increased Interest In Korean Authors

Chance Dorland & Seoul-based essayist, broadcaster, & Los Angeles Review of Books Korea Blog writer Colin Marshall discuss the attention Han Kang’s English translation of “The Vegetarian” is getting & the spotlight that has slowly begun to shine on South Korean authors.


Creating a Queer Korean Anthology

In October, Professor Samuel Perry from Brown University gave a talk on The Melancholia of Queer Korea: Toward a New Anthology of Korean Literature. As the title of the lecture suggests, he is currently working on compiling and translating an anthology of Korean literature. He has graciously shared some of his slides.



Lecture at UCSD: The Melancholia of Queer Korea: Toward an Anthology of Fiction

I know most of my readers are English speakers in Korea, but thought I would share this event at my university.



I'll be skipping Korean class tomorrow to attend the lecture. Hopefully I can share some queer Korean literature with my readers.

Literary News

Item. Teakettle Mountain will be available for free starting in about two hours (Around 12AM Tuesday Pacific Time / Around 4PM in Krrrreeeya) until Friday at the same time. Snap up a copy before it’s too late!

Item. After several rejection letters, an agent I queried has requested more materials for Sorabol, which I’m currently attempting to publish via more traditional methods, after having already put it up on amazon as a kindle ebook. It’s still very possible that he’ll pass on it after taking some more time to look it over, but I think I’ve passed a sort of milestone in the authorial cursus honorum—getting a reply which is not a rejection form used for the slush pile.


Who Is The Best Stylist?

Shakespeare writes as if the English language itself is writing: His tears run down his beard like winter’s drops from eaves of reeds. Tolstoy writes with the voice of the earth. I was first really hooked by the beginning of Sevastopol Stories, actually. Borges, in Spanish or English, is like bathing in a sunset.

Bruma de oro, el Occidente alumbra
la ventana. El asiduo manuscrito
aguarda, ya cargado de infinito.
Alguien construye a Dios en la penumbra.

And when Flaubert describes the color of Emma Bovary’s eyes, I don’t just see them, I am them. Madame Bovary c’est moi! Borges said that Joyce had written lines that were not unworthy of Shakespeare—


The Ecstasy of Reading (Flaubert)

Pieter_Bruegel_(Temptation_of_St_Antony)

If you have ever felt, upon reading some comment or review that complains about too much description in a given book, or too many difficult words, a feeling of disgust—if you have ever suppressed an urge to roll your eyes when someone you know wonders about the point of fiction, or dismisses entire genres out of hand—then you must stop reading this blog post right now and go devour The Temptation of St. Anthony.


When You Say Simple, You Probably Mean Plain

Allegorical tales that involve animal characters have notable appeal for adults as well. Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” for example, is a masterpiece of political commentary that is arresting in its simplicity.

From the comments section of A Child’s Wild Kingdom. As soon as I read it I thought—simple? Orwell is simple? I don’t know, doesn’t Orwell seem, actually, to be kind of brilliantly complex? And doesn’t he just mask that complexicity in an attractively plain style?

And then from the chorus of dead people I’ve tucked into my brain, Nabokov—the master of concealing difficult and complex thoughts within a difficult and complex style—lashed out from his excellent Lectures on Russian Literature:


Clashes Of The Literary Titans

Disputes between the literary gods would seem to be fairly rare, as these most talented personages are often gracious enough to overlook, at least in print, the perceived shortcomings of their fellow divinities. Literature is not a contest, Borges asserts; prizes, Werner Herzog adds, are for pigs and horses.


I’m A Winner!

… and not just because my Mom says I’m a winner, although she does.

Tomorrow is the last day of National Novel Writing Month and I am not worried because thanks to yesterday’s marathon writing, I am finished!! On the 28th I wrote just shy of 5,000 words and crossed the line into 50,000 word territory!  The novel isn’t finished by any means, but it’s hopefully a good chunk of the way there.  This month really has taught me a lot about writing a novel and even gave me ideas about future novels.


Marguerite Yourcenar

I was into science fiction and fantasy novels when I was younger. This adoration of unknown and nonexistent worlds came about as a result of a rejection of the world I knew: when I was six my family moved from New York City to Maine, and I went from being a happy, popular, and talented student to an outcast and a failure. This was an overnight transformation. I was still the same person, but my surroundings were different.


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