Zhang Dai on Civil Service Exams (And South Korea Today)

As I continue reading the book I mentioned the other day, Jonathan Spence’s Return to Dragon Mountain, I keep running across little passages that scream out to be shared, along with a little commentary. Here’s one, comprising the observations of Zhang Dai and his contemporary Ai regarding the horrors of the Imperial examination system, the civil service exams […]

The Mudang’s Dance (Reprint)

So, a few years ago, I was invited to write a piece for Arc Magazine. The result was “The Mudang’s Dance,” a piece on how accelerated modernization and social change seems to have given Korean society an interestingly different relationship with the future (and the past) from what dominates in the English-speaking world. The piece was only available in Arc […]

Korean Fiction, For Free… (In a Limited Range of Editions)

While I think Charles Montgomery at Korean Literature in Translation overstates things a little bit by calling it a “triumph,” it’s worth noting that LTI Korea has released a set of twenty early modern Korean texts for free. (That is, early 20th century texts: “early modern” begins much later in Korean lit than English lit, […]