Wild Apricots

Literature Translation Institute of Korea
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Lee Hyoseok’s story “Wild Apricots” was published in the literary journal Jogwang in 1937. The work is noteworthy for its use of themes that pushed the limits of the social conventions of the times. The story involves infidelity, betrayal, female homoeroticism, and superstitious folk beliefs. In addition, Lee clearly mounts a critique of vested male privilege that he would develop more fully in later works. Interestingly, together with his critique of the backwardness of rural society, Lee also weaves a subtle critique of the increasingly oppressive nature of Japanese rule as the dark clouds of militarism and fascism spread across the horizon. 
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About the author

Lee Hyoseok (1907 – 1942) is counted among Korea’s best short story writers along with the likes of Hyun Jin-geon, Yi Taejun, and Park Taewon. His most widely read story, “When the Buckwheat Blooms,” is the tale of an itinerant peddler, going from market to market in the vicinity of Bongpyeong, Lee’s birthplace. The story unfolds against the lyrically depicted moonlight and blooming buckwheat flowers. Gasan (Lee’s pen name) was born in Gangwon Province and graduated from Gyeongseong First High School before going on to major in English Literature at Gyeongseong Imperial University.

Together with his contemporary Yu Jinoh, he was classified as a “fellow traveler” writer. Such an epithet was used to describe writers who, while not officially joining KAPF, sympathized with its ideology and aims and reflected these sympathies in their writing. However, with the decline of proletariat literature in the early 1930s, Lee became a member of the modernist coterie Group of Nine. The Group of Nine, that was begun by Yi Jongmyeong and Gim Yuyeong, included in the original nine Lee Hyoseok, Lee Mu-young, Yoo Chijin, Yi Taejun, Jo Yongman, Gim Girin, and Jeong Jiyong. After joining the Group of Nine, Lee discarded his socialist leanings in favor of a powerful eroticism based on a lyrical style of storytelling. Characteristic of this style are the works “Pig,” “Bunnyeo,” “Mountains,” and “Fields.”
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Additional Information

Publisher
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
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Published on
Nov 30, 2014
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Pages
18
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ISBN
9788993360516
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Collections / Asian / General
Literary Collections / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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