The Bard in Korea #ShakespeareWeek

Shakespeare Week is almost over, nevertheless: Here are some links to blogposts I wrote on Shakespeare in Korea – let’s make it an international celebration!


Original Image via WikimediaCommons, Library of Congress (public domain)

Original Image via WikimediaCommons, Library of Congress (public domain)

First, a commented bibliography on book chapters on Shakespeare in Korea: “Some More Shakespeare in Korea”

I wrote that post as an update on a paper on Lee Yun-taek’s production of Hamlet, which I presented back in 2009 at the German Shakespeare Society and published the following year. The paper is in English, though, and you can find the link and some context here.

I should update the bibliography sometime – besides numerous texts in Korean, some English-language writings that would have to be included are:

  • Chapter 5 (“Conceptualizing Korean Shakespeare in the Era of Globalization”) of Hyunjung Lee’s Performing the Nation in Global Korea: Transnational Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan 2015), 93–126 (publisher, Google Books)
  • Cho Seoug-kwan’s PhD-dissertation “Shakespeare and the South Korean Stage” (University of Warwick 2014) (repository, available from April 7, 2017), which promises “a comprehensive synoptic historical and theoretical approach” to the history of Shakespeare in Korea and includes discussions of some recent productions
  • “Korean students’ Shakespeare”, reflections by Sarah Olive on her research project
  • Anything else? Please let me know!


Next, short reviews of Taroo’s “Pansori Hamlet Project”, which began with two showcases (in the basement of Doosan Art Center, 2012; in the lobby of Seoul Theater Center, 2013) and continues with a feature-length production (2014–). I wrote a comparative review of Taroo’s project and ensemble Tuida’s Hamlet Cantabile: “A Tale of Two Hamlets”, Borrowers and Lenders X.1, 2016. One chapter of my dissertation (submitted but not defended yet) deals also in detail with performative aspects of the whole project.


A short post on Benedict Cumberbatch’s body and his performance as Hamlet at the Barbican


Some pieces of evidence for what might have been the very first low-key “performances” of Shakespeare’s plays in Korea!


A list of productions planned for the Quattrocentennial in 2016 (some were added during the year; full disclosure: I missed all of them, but finally saw the classic “Koreanized” Hamlet by Lee Yun-taek and Ensemble “Georipae”, a truely spectacular midnight-show in Miryang, see picture)

연희단거리패, 햄릿, 연출: 이윤택, 제16회 밀양 여름공연예술축제, Aug. 6, 2016

연희단거리패, 햄릿, 연출: 이윤택, 제16회 밀양 여름공연예술축제, Aug. 6, 2016


As an addendum: The first full set of Shakespeare’s plays in Korean based on the Oxford Edition (instead of Arden, see “Arden vs. Oxford-threads on Librarything and Reddit) just came out (translation: Lee Sang-seop). The new edition is just one volume – a blue tome of nine pounds!

셰익스피어 전집 이상섭 역, 문학과지성, 2016 BHere are the full bibliographic details: 셰익스피어 전집, 옮김: 이상섭, 문학과지성 2016, 1808쪽, 정가: 120,000원; Moonji Publishing, Kyobo, Aladin

An English announcement in the Dong-a Ilbo notes that with this publication, the Korean Complete Shakespeare “has become independent from the influence of the Japanese edition by Shoyo Tsubouchi, the first to translate all of Shakespeare’s plays into Japanese”.

Some more facts on the current state of complete editions of Shakespeare (셰익스피어 전집) in Korea from a review by Choe Jae-bong in Hankyoreh (최재봉, 한겨레, 2016–12–01):

  • The first translation of Shakespeare’s complete works, by Kim Jae-nam (김재남) from 1964 (Shakespeare’s 400th birthday), is out of print
  • The only complete works available was Sin Jeong-ok’s (신정옥) popular paperback translation from the 1980s (전예원)
  • Kim Jeong-hwan (김정환) began a 40-volume translation in 2008 but since volume 23 (2013), the project has been on halt (아침이슬)
  • Choe Jong-cheol (최종철), student of Lee Sang-seop, began a new translation in 2014, but will take some more time until completion (민음사), as does a similar project by the Korean Shakespeare Society (한국셰익스피어학회)

Lee Sang-seop attempts to make a translation that is “performable” (see Susan Bassnett’s paper on “Translating for the Theatre” on this issue), in other words, “concise and harmonious enough to be used on stage”, as he writes in his introduction, good to pronounce rather than exact to the source. The article provides Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be”-soliloquy as an example:

존재냐, 비존재냐,?그것이 문제다.
억울한 운명의 돌팔매와 화살을
마음속에 참는 것이 고귀한 일인가,
만난의 바다에 팔을 걷어붙이고
저항하여 끝내는 것이 고귀한 일인가?
죽음은 자는 것, 그뿐이다. 잠으로써
육체가 이어받는 아픔과 온갖 병을
끝낸다 할진대, 이는 진정 희구할
행복한 결말이다. 죽음은 잠자는 것.

Let’s just say that the opening is at least uncommon – a rather simple style that seems to follow at least partly the rhythm of the original. I will write a bit more on variations of these famous lines in an upcoming post, the second part to my overview of Korean-language Hamlet-translations. Soon more!

– 24 March 2017 (金)

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Talking about Brecht and Pansori in Toronto #AAS 2017

The conference program featured a Korean mask! (Association of Asian Studies 2017)

The conference program featured a Korean mask! (Association of Asian Studies 2017)

I’m preparing my presentation on “The Influence of Brecht on Pansori-Theatre” (Towards a More International ‘Koreanness’?), to be held in a week at the Annual Conference of the Association of Asian Studies in Toronto. I’m very happy to be part of what will certainly be an exciting panel – number 227:

“Koreanness” on Display

From the Museum to the Musical Stage

From K-Pop to K-Drama, cuisine to cinema, it is difficult to find a Korean cultural product untouched by national branding, often under the banner of “Koreanness.” Loosely defined as “things unique to Korea,” this concept permeates presentations Korean arts, and has been repeatedly leveraged by cultural institutions, media, academia, and government agencies. This panel explores displays of “Koreanness” in order to understand how this essentializing concept has been re-framed in response to different cultural and political discourses, aiming to set Korean arts apart and market them both domestically and abroad. Four case studies examine the ways “Koreanness” is displayed and critically reconsider the underlying discourses in cultural display: first, by a government funded musical company working to nationalize the citizenry in the 1960s; second, in recent performances of pansori-theatre that combine Brechtian and traditional Korean methods and material to rebrand their image as uniquely Korean; third, in newly created performances for tourist audiences that commodify a traditional façade yet do not deeply engage with the source material; and finally, by the National Museum in recent exhibitions that show contestations seeking to define “Koreanness” in Korean art. Through investigating different ways that discourses of “Koreanness” have been used, we hope to spark dialogue illuminating how these discourses have changed over time, as the intentional vagueness of the concept both motivates a national response and attract non-Koreans seeking exposure to or engagement with Korean arts.

Chair/Session Organizer: CedarBough T. Saeji (University of British Columbia)


  • Seungyoun Choi (Korea University)
    “Koreanness” and Nation Building: Yegrin Musical Company’s Representation of the City and the Country in Ggotnimi Ggotnimi Ggotnimi
  • Jan Creutzenberg (Freie Universität Berlin/Sungshin University)
    Towards a More International “Koreanness”? The Influence of Brecht on Pansori-Theatre
  • CedarBough T. Saeji (University of British Columbia)
    Dynamic Korea on Display: Commodification of Tradition in Performances for Tourists
  • Young-Sin Park (Binghamton University, SUNY)
    Representing “Koreanness” through the Exhibitions of the National Museum of Korea

Discussant: Haeree Choi (Yonsei University)

The panel will take place on Saturday, March 18, from 10.45am at Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Mezzanine, Chestnut East. Looking forward to meet you there!

What follows is the abstract of my own paper, a short preview (actually a recorded test-run of the introduction) plus the firs slides of my presentation, and some resources for anyone interested in more detail on the productions I discuss.

Towards a More International “Koreanness”?

The Influence of Brecht on Pansori-Theatre

Pansori is a quintessential icon of “Koreanness”. The singing style is unique to Korea, the canonical stories are often deeply rooted in Korean localities, and its registration as a UNESCO intangible heritage of humanity makes it an important asset in cultural branding and oversea marketing. In the last ten years, however, the monolithic connection of pansori to Korean heritage has been challenged and diversified. Creative performers, directors, and producers experiment with new forms of pansori-theatre and use unorthodox sources. Young ensembles stage new works that directly deal with subject matters of contemporary relevance. The productions of the National Changgeuk Company of Korea court audiences with nostalgic and spectacular stage adaptations of traditional pansori works and at the same time experiment with Western classics, musicals, and movies. German playwright and drama theorist Bertolt Brecht is a favorite reference for attempts to “internationalize” pansori, not least due to earlier scholarly attempts to link the Korean tradition with his concept of “epic theatre”. This paper explores the role that references to Brecht play in the “re-branding” of pansori and changgeuk, often by expanding the notion of “Koreanness” with a critical twist. Based on performance analysis and reviews of four recent productions, I will consider the ways associations with Brecht’s theories and adaptations of his plays transform the potential of pansori both as traditional heritage and as contemporary art for international audiences.

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The title image shows Ahn Suk-seon (안숙선), performing Heungbuga (흥부가) for the World Library and Information Congress at COEX, Seoul, 2006 (Photo by Brian Negin, via Flickr, CC; Brecht’s portrait is public domain).

Resources on my Presentation

The four productions I compare are as follows:

  1. Mr Rabbit and the Dragon King (Sugung-ga, 수궁가)
  2. The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Kokaseoseu-ui Baek-muk-won, 코카서스의 백묵원), both by the National Changgeuk Company of Korea (NCCK, 국립창극단)
  3. Song of Sichuan (Sacheon-ga, 사천가)
  4. Song of Courage (Eokcheok-ga, 억척가), both by Pansori Project “Za” and Lee Jaram (판소리 만들기 “자”, 이자람)

First, some videoclips that give you a first impression of these productions:

  1. Mr Rabbit and the Dragon King: Five excerpts that give a good idea of the general visual style of the production (via Youtube). part1, part2, part3, part4, part5, part6; impressions from an exhibition by Achim Freyer with sketches, stage design, costumes etc. used in the production process (via Youtube/Koreanisches Kulturzentrum Berlin)
  2. The Caucasian Chalk Circle: various videos that show some scenes of the production. Making of (via National Theater), TV-coverage in Korean (via YTN News), TV-coverage in English (via Arirang TV)
  3. Song of Sichuan: Several scenes with English subtitles (via Youtube)
  4. Song of Courage: Some scenes with promotion for a guest performance in France (via Youtube/Théâtre National Populaire)

Plus: excerpt of a TED-talk by Lee Jaram with English subtitles (via Youtube/Korean Culture Center UK)

Now some links to related material on this blog:

Additional literature on changgeuk and Lee Jaram’s Brecht-Pansori includes Andrew Killick’s standard In Search of Korean Traditional Opera: Discourses of Ch’anggŭk (Univ. of Hawai’i Press, 2010), as well as Performing Korea by Patrice Pavis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) that dedicates a chapter to Lee Jaram’s Eokcheok-ga and the question “Is Modernized Pansori Political?” (the book just came out and I haven’t come around to read it in detail). There are many papers in Korean that deal with either topic, but one of the few that combines a discussion of recent interest in Brecht among makers of traditional Korean theatre is 장은수, “포스트서사극시대 우리 전통극의 새로운 가능성” (Jang Eun-soo, “New Possibilities Of Korean Traditional Theatre in the Era of Post-epic Theatre”), 세계문학비교연구 51 (2015), 403–22.

Finally, two of my publications that relate to the topics discussed here:

  • Jan Creutzenberg (2013), “From Traditional Opera to Modern Music Theatre? Recent Experiments in Ch’anggŭk”, Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch 88, pp. 87–102. publisher
  • Jan Creutzenberg (2011), “The Good Person of Korea: Lee Jaram’s Sacheon-ga as a Dialogue between Brecht and Pansori”, Brecht Yearbook 36, Storrs, CT: International Brecht Society, pp. 225–238.

Any comments and questions, on the presentation or related matters, are more than welcome!

— 12 March 2017 (日)

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One Swallow a Day (Heungbu and Nolbu)

As I learned today, the Korean postal service uses the swallow (jebi, 제비) as its symbol, maybe because it is commonly considered a harbinger of good news.

korea-post-2017-02-28But: One swallow doesn’t a spring make, knew already Aristotle. For Heungbu, on the other hand, a swallow made his day, and all the others. Poor Nolbu, on the other hand… The story of the two brothers Heungbu and Nolbu, in its pansori-version known as Heungbu-ga or Heungbo-ga (흥부가 / 흥보가, please tell me if you know the difference!), is a classic fable about the triumph of altruistic over selfish action (read it in Korean and English, if you haven’t yet – thanks to the unfortunately short-lived blog “Asian Story Translations”). It was also adapted as the very first Korean feature-length puppetry stop-motion movie in 1967 (directed by Gang Tae-ung 강태웅), long before Tim Burton and Wallace and Gromit, as the comment to the movie on Youtube proudly notes.

I didn’t see a swallow today, but a magpie, omen for good luck in Korea and a beautiful thief in Germany (and other places, I suppose). Although the lightness of the day – five years and 330 pages later – might not last, I’m still quite happy, having sent it off, for today, till summer. May the new year begin!

— 28 Feb. 2017 (火)

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Best of Blacklist? (Attendum to “Best of Korean Theatre 2016”)

Now the (lunar) year is almost over… I did not mention an important aspect when writing about last years “Best 3” and “Best 7”: The stand they represent against politically motivated censorship, which has been a major issue during the last two years.


In the light of events, it is notable that Kunhyung Park’s All the Soldiers are Pathetic (박근형, 모든 군인은 불쌍하다) appears on both lists, as this is the production that triggered the censorship (검열) scandal in that extended to the world of traditional music and was rekindled by the leaking of the names of almost 10,000 artists blacklisted by official authorities in October 2016.

Kunhyung Park seems to have evoked the wrath of cultural politics with his production of The Frogs in 2014 (I saw the production back then, unfortunately the only piece of the National Theater Company’s Aristophanes-trio). The production features an obvious satirical depiction of former dictator Park Chung-hee and, more importantly, his daughter and (back then) ruling president Park Geun-hye. (As some English-language news-outlets were quick to remark, despite their similar common surname, director Park and president Park are not related – also notable is the consistens misspelling of the play’s title as Frog.)

Arguably as a result of his open criticism of the two Parks, funding for his next piece (All the Soldiers) was denied or, as testimonies suggest, Park was pressured into revoking his application for funding. Subsequently, an engagement for directing a piece at the National Gugak Center (국립국악원) was cancelled in a similar manner in October 2015. (The gugak-magazine Lara provides a good overview in English.)

To no one’s surprise, Park’s name featured prominently on the blacklist leaked in 2016 (a partial list with about 6,000 names is available via Hankyoreh). Another piece (or rather a site-specific performance festival), the “Camino de Ansan 2016” that is conceptualized as a memory-walk for the victims of the Sewol ferry-disaster (potentially critical with regard to the government’s reactions, is also awarded. The selection shows that theatre critics (who also did rallies and public statements when the issues were hot) do not bow to cultural – and in extension – national politics.

Most recently, South Korea’s culture minister Cho Yoon-sun has been arrested in relation to the blacklist. Facing censorship, theatremakers keep on making theatre, so much is clear. Last fall, a Tumblbug-crowdfunding campaign by a cooperation of various ensembles under the title “Project for Right” (권리장전) was successful (the project is also mentioned in a review of 2016 by Jiyoung Jang, translated by Walter Byongsok Chon, via Theatre Times, the expanded Korean original is available online, too, in the webzine Must by Chungmu Art Center). At Gwanghwamun in central Seoul, where theatre is presented in a tent, blacklisted artists also protested with black plastic bags (images via Hankyoreh) It remains open, though, how the art world at large will deal with a situation where those who followed politically motivated directives still remain in numerous positions of power.

Happy New Year!

PS: A good (English) summary of the situation as of last November, with some images of protests in front of the Korean Cultural Center in London, is available on London Korean Links

– 27 Jan. 2017 (金)

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Best of Korean Theatre 2016 (part1): Official Rankings

As this crazy year draws to an end, as usual the best theatre productions in Korea have been selected and awards are handed out. Two of the most important selections are the “best 7” by the monthly journal Korean Theatre Review (월간 한국연극, “2016 공연 베스트 7”) and the “best 3” by the Association of Theatre Critics (한국연극평론가협회, “올해의 연극 베스트 3”). (Various press sources – the official websites are a bit late in this regard – can be found, for example at Munhwa News (문화뉴스), by using the following links: best 3, best 7)

The “best 7” considers all performances shown in the greater Seoul region between Nov. 2015 and Oct. 2016. In the category “premieres” (초연), four works were chosen:

  • Twelve Angry Men (12인의 성난 사람들) by Sansuyu Theatre (극단 산수유), directed by Ryu Ju-yeon (류주연) play by Reginald Rose
  • All the Soldiers are Pathetic (모든 군인은 불쌍하다) by Golmokil Theatre (극단 골목길), written and directed by Kunhyung Park (박근형), co-produced by Namsan Art Center (남산예술센터)
  • Bethany House (베서니 집) by Dong Theatre company (극단 동), directed by Ryang-Won Kang (강량원), play by Laura Marks
  • Sunshine Warriors (썬샤인의 전사들), a play by Kim Eun Sung (김은성), produced by Doosan Art Center (두산아트센터)

Additionally, productions in three other categories were awarded:

  • revival (재공연): “Camino de Ansan 2016” (안산순례길 2016), a multi-site-specific project in the city of Ansan, in memory of the victims of the “Sewol” ferry-disaster
  • children/young audience (아동 청소년극): We are Friends (우리는 친구다, original: Max und Milli, by Volker Ludwig) by Hakchŏn (극단 학전)
  • foreign production (해외공연): Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (Ein Volksfeind, 민중의 적) by Schaubühne Berlin (샤우뷔네 베를린), director: Thomas Ostermeier, guest performance at LG Arts Center

For the “best 3”, all performances shown from Dec. 2015 until Nov. 2016 are eligbile. Two of the three also appear in the “best 7”:

  • All the Soldiers are Pathetic (모든 군인은 불쌍하다)
  • Bethany House (베서니 집)
  • Goebbel’s Theatre (괴벨스 극장) by ensemble Watchman (극단 파수꾼), directed by Yi Eun-jun (이은준), play by Oh Se-hyeok (오세혁)

Although aware of some of these productions, I wasn’t able to see any of them – besides teaching, wrapping up my dissertation kept me at the desk. I planned to see the guest performance of Ein Volksfeind, too, about which I had heard a lot, but then didn’t find the time, unfortunately. I would have loved to hear how the mid-play discussion among the audience developed. (Some videos – all in German, though – give an idea of the tour and include statements from the discussion: a mini-documentary, a videocast by actor David Ruland, and a report by Deutsche Welle.)

But being busy doesn’t mean that I didn’t spend a minute in the theatre. Follow up for some thoughts about my own top 5 or something, hopefully before the end of the year…

– 22 Dec. 2016 (木)

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Beyond To Live or To Die: Hamlet in Korean Translation, Part 1

Translation is interpretation. It is creation as well as dismissal. It is a series of choices that are hard to count, even harder to overestimate.

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 1676, Source: Horace Howard Furness Memorial Library, via Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image (public domain)

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 1676, Source: Horace Howard Furness Memorial Library, via Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image (public domain)

I once again was reminded of this practical fact while browsing through a number of Korean translations of Hamlet, a bit of research I did for a short interview on Shakespeare in Korea earlier this year. Since the 1920s, Shakespeare is read, translated, and staged in Korea. The first “translations” of Shakespeare were in fact prose renderings based on Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales of Shakespeare (also available as an audio book at Libri Vox), until Hyeon Cheol used the Japanese translation of the drama by his teacher Shoyo Tsubouchi from 1909 as a source. His complete translation of Hamlet, the very first in Korean, albeit not directly from the original, was first serialized in the magazine Gaebyeok (개벽 開闢, “Creation”), volumes 11–30 in 1921 and 22, and then in full in 1923 (현철, 하믈레트, 박문서관 1923).

But since the first Korean translation of Hamlet from the English original by Seol Jeong-sik in 1949 (설정식, 하므렡, 백양당), closely followed by a “scholarly” translation by Choe Jae-seo (최재서, 햄릿, 연희춘추, 1954, two years later re-published as a bilingual edition at 한일문화사) and a translation for the stage by Han Ro-dan (한로단, 하므렡, 동문, 1954, for ensemble Sinhyeop 신협, the de-facto national theatre company at that time), the work has been translated countless times. The various ways of spelling the title, too, were soon standardized to “햄릿” (Haemlit), stressing the original English (or American?) pronounciation rather than the Japanese-sounding multi-syllable forms of “하믈레트” (Hameulleteu) or “하므렡” (Hameulet) that rather follow spelling than pronounciation.

anonymous, Edwin Booth as Hamlet, color lithograph, 1873 Source: Library of Congress (public domain)

anonymous, Edwin Booth as Hamlet, color lithograph, 1873
Source: Library of Congress (public domain)

A book published in 2005 by the Scholars for English Studies in Korea (SESK, 영미문학연구회) is of great help when – thus the title – “In Search of Good Translations of English and American Classics” (영미문학연구회 엮음, 영미 명작 좋은 번역을 찾아서, 창비 2005, publisher’s site, available at Google Books). The authors of this tome evaluate relevant translations of fourteen US-American and twenty-two British works, from Poe and Melville to Fitzgerald and Hemingway, from Chaucer, Milton, Dickens, and the Brontës to Conrad, Joyce, and Woolf. (A second volume published in 2007 including two more plays, Waiting for Godot and A Streetcar Named Desire) Shakespeare comes last, with chapters on all four “big” tragedies. The one on Hamlet (pp. 543–79) goes into detail about the merits of the different versions and provides the following top-ten list:

  1. 최재서, 햄맅, 연희춘추사 1954.
  2. 설정식, 하므렡, 백양당 1949.
  3. 한로단, 하므렡, 동문사 1954.
  4. 김재남, 햄릿, 을지서적 1995 (1st: 을유문화사 1961)
  5. 여석기, 햄릿, 동화출판공사 1970.
  6. 이경식, 햄릿, 서울대학교 출판부 1996, 1998 (1st: 대양서적 1974)
  7. 신정옥, 햄릿, 진예원 1989, 2002.
  8. 이덕수, 햄리트, 형설출판사 1990, 2002.
  9. 최종철, 햄릿, 민음사 1994, 2002.
  10. 김종환, 햄릿, 계명대학교출판부 1997, 2001.

(tldr: nothing beats the post-war pioneers!)

The chapter also includes the following statistics (as of 2005?):

  • Hamlet has been published in 112 different editions, by 59 different translators, including two who co-translators.
  • The chapter compares 31 publications (by 32 translators), of which, again, 13 items are categorized as “more or less close plagiats”, leaving 18 original translations.
  • The version plagiarized the most times is Kim Jae-nam’s translation, first published in 1961 (김재남, 햄릿, 을유문화).
  • “Special cases” include prose translations (this time not from the Lambs’ Tales, but from Shakespeare) by Kim Ji-ho (김지호, 햄릿, 베니스의 상인, 한국파스퇴르 2001) and Han Yong-hwan (한용환, 함레트, 멕베드, 신문화 1974), both bundled with another work; and verse translations (운문 번역) by Choe Chong-jeol (최종철, 1994) and Kim Jong-hwan (김종환, 1997).
The World Literature, Shakespeare-Volume 1, inc. Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Samseongdang, 1983.

The World Literature, Shakespeare-Volume 1, inc. Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Samseongdang, 1983.

For a comprehensive account on how “Shakespeare Came to Korea”, Shin Jeong-ok’s eponimous book (신정옥, 셰익스피어 한국에 오다, 백산출판사, 1998) from 1998, although based on a number of articles from the 80s, is still the first place to look. In English, some information on Shakespeare’s reception in Korea is available, too. Jong-hwan Kim did a PhD on “Shakespeare in Korea” at the University of Nebraska in 1992, focusing on translations, productions, and scholarship between 1906 (the first mention of Shakespeare’s name in a modernist magazine) and 1989. He condensed his results into an article (“Shakespeare in a Korean Cultural Context”, Asian Theatre Journal 12.1, (1995), 37–49, PDF at JStor), probably the most accessible general account of Shakespeare in Korea.

The earliest Korean versions of Hamlet available at my university’s library date to the 1970s and 80s. They are often published in large volumes as parts of series such as “World’s Famous Classic” (Geumseong 1990), “The World Literature” (Samseong-dang 1974, 1983), or “Great Books” (Hak Won, 1983). In Korean, the title of these series is inevitably 세계문학[대]전집 / 世界文學[大]全集 (“[Big] Complete Edition of World Literature”) and the volumes dedicated to Shakespeare usually include Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, translated by Sim Jeong-ok, Jeonyewon World Literature Series Vol. 301, 1989.

Shakespeare, Hamlet, translated by Sim Jeong-ok, Jeonyewon World Literature Series Vol. 301, 1989.

Later, books like Four Tragedies of Shakespeare (4대 비극, transl. Gwon Eung-ho [권응호], published by Hyewon in 1993) or single volumes, sometimes as cheap editions in educational series (by 전예원, 지만지, 민음사 etc.) became common. There are also a few books that collect (and re-translate) famous phrases or soliloquies from various of Shakespeare’s works (e.g. the bi-langual Soliloquies and Speeches [독백과 대사], transl. Song Ok [송옥], published by Dong-in in 2014).

This overview on available Korean translations of Hamlet turned out longer than expected. I thus have to postpone a closer discussion of the actual translations to next time –

– 10 May 2016 (火)

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The First Half of 2016: Activities from April to July

For the bi-annual newsletter of the Association for Korean Music Research, I listed my recent activities. Here, I provide some more links for those interested:

newsletter-oct-2016-copyThis year I am focusing on wrapping up my PhD-dissertation on “Creating Communities in Contemporary Pansori”. These are some other (more or less) academic activities related to music and theatre:

– 15 Oct. 2016 (土)

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