The Downfall of Ji Hyeong-geun

20th Century Korean Literature

Book 32
Literature Translation Institute of Korea

Once Ji arrives in Cheorwon, an important city where a rail center is being built, he lives with the laborers and is exposed to the stark conditions of Korea, which is undergoing a radical transformation under the whip of the Japanese colonizers. By chance, he meets Yi-hwa, a “fallen woman” who used to live next door to his family during his childhood. His complex and contradictory Neo-Confucian and Christian derived emotions about Yi-hwa leads him to inadvertently commit a crime, resulting in theft and the betrayal of his hometown friend; thus culminating in Ji’s downfall.
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About the author

Na Do-hyang (1902 - 1927)’s  real name is Kyung-son and his pen name is Bin. He was born in 1902. After graduating from Baejae Normal High School, he was admitted to Kyeongseong Medical School but dropped out and went to Tokyo, Japan, to study literature, returning in 1919 to teach at an elementary school in Andong for one year. He began his literary career in 1921, publishing “Leaving Home” in the Baejae School Newspaper and later on, his short story “Memory” in the People’s Opinion. In 1922, as a member of the literary coterie magazine The Swan, he published his work “The Seasons of a Young Person” in its first edition.    

In 1925, with the publication of his artistically mature pieces like “The Water Mill”, “Mulberry”, and “Mute Sam-ryong”, he received much attention as a writer. He died on August 26, 1927. His full-length novel, Mother (1939) was published posthumously. In his early years, his writings reflected an emotional and artistic world, but his later works like “The Water Mill” were much more realistic and used short story elements. He is considered to be a representative author of the Colonial Period, for he clearly depicted the dark realities of that time.

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Additional Information

Literature Translation Institute of Korea
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Published on
Nov 30, 2014
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Literary Collections / Asian / General
Literary Collections / General
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Content Protection
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