Jul 12, 2020
This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Janet Poole. They speak about Korean literature in the late-colonial period, the unique group of writers that emerged at this time, how they dealt with both censorship and the feeling of inevitability about Japanese rule, what the stories of this period looked like and the themes that tended to emerge, the depictions of the future and the everyday, the place of modernity and nostalgia, what Korean identity looked like and how it was developed through literature, the impact that this period had on Korean nationalism and Korean literature, and a deep look at specific late-colonial writers and their work.
Janet Poole is an Associate Professor and Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research and teaching interests lie in aesthetics in the broad context of colonialism and modernity, in history and theories of translation, and in the creative practice of literary translation. Janet’s book, When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea, writes the creative works of Korea’s writers into the history of global modernism, and colonialism into the history of fascism, through an exploration of the writings of poets, essay writers, fiction writers and philosophers from the final years of the Japanese empire. It won the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize (2015) and Honorable Mention for the Association of Asian Studies James B. Palais Prize (2016).
Janet is also a translator of the mid-century writer Yi T’aejun and has published a collection of his best short fiction from 1925 through 1950, by which time he had moved to North Korea (Dust and Other Stories, Columbia University Press); and a collection of his anecdotal essays originally published during the Asia-Pacific War (Eastern Sentiments, Columbia University Press, paperback edition, 2013), which offers a quirky take on everyday life in 1930s Korea: wistful, nostalgic and violently colonial.
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