Cho Dong-il’s History of Korean Literature is a magisterial work, perhaps the most comprehensive narrative on the subject in any language other than Korean, encompassing milestones, events and personalities in one of the most engrossing bodies of world literature. This monumental book in electronic format and in print (ISBN 9781872843339), all of 944 pages, is published in conjunction with the Academy of Korean Studies, Seoul, and is part of Saffron Korea Library Series (ISSN 1748-0477).
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Cho Dong-il’s History of Korean Literature (translated by Charles La Shure) traces the development of Korean literature from its beginnings in paleolithic times through the ancient and medieval eras, the important transition from medieval to modern Korea, and the Japanese colonial period, which ended in 1945.
Dr Cho, a preeminent scholar of Korean literature, demonstrates how inextricably the threads of history, literature, and philosophy are interwoven, providing the necessary background to understand Korean literature as an unbroken tradition of thousands of years. His theories of literary branches and tendencies, as well as his unique understanding of the relationships between historical eras, provide a deeper and more flexible framework for interpreting Korean literature than traditional genre and periodization systems. Lastly, he goes beyond regional boundaries to examine the place Korean literature occupies in world literature.
This English translation of the five-volume original serves as an introduction to Korean literature, maintaining the important theoretical framework and underlying theories that make Dr Cho’s work the premiere textbook that it is in Korea, but also focusing on the more significant aspects of Korean literary history so as not to overwhelm the reader. This volume will serve as a foundation for and stepping stone to further study of Korean literature. The cover of the book features a painting by the author.
About the author, Dr Cho Dong-il
Professor Cho Dong-il has been has been teaching Korean literature for 45 years, primarily in Korea but also in France, Japan, and China. He has spoken to academic audiences in sixteen countries around the globe. His contributions to the fields of Korean literature and Korean Studies include over seventy books and over two hundred papers; his latest book, A Theory of Learning (2012), serves as an approachable introduction to and summary of his vast body of research. He is currently professor emeritus at Seoul National University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Korea.
About the Translator, Dr Charles La Shure
Charles La Shure holds a doctorate in classical Korean literature with a specialization in oral literature from Seoul National University. In addition to his academic research, he works as a translator of technical, academic, and literary texts from Korean into English; his most recent previous translation is the novel Black Flower, by Kim Young-ha. He is currently an ssistant professor in the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Seoul National University.