Mujong (the Heartless): Yi Kwang-Su and Modern Korean Literature (Paperback)

Mujong (the Heartless): Yi Kwang-Su and Modern Korean Literature By Kwang-Su Yi, Ann Sung-Hi Lee (Translator) Cover Image
By Kwang-Su Yi, Ann Sung-Hi Lee (Translator)


Yi Kwang-su (1892-1950) was one of the pioneers of modern Korean literature. When the serialization of Mujong (The Heartless) began in 1917, it was an immediate sensation, and it occupies a prominent place in the Korean literary canon. The Heartless is the story of a love triangle among three youths during the Japanese occupation. Yi Hyōng-sik is a young man in his mid-twenties who is teaching English at a middle school in Seoul. Brilliant but also shy and indecisive, he is torn between two women. Kim Sōn-hyōng is from a wealthy Christian family; she has just graduated from a modern, Western-style school and is planning on continuing her studies in the United States. Pak Yōng-ch'ae is a musically gifted young woman who was raised in a traditional Confucian manner; due to family misfortune, she has become a kisaeng but remains devoted to Hyōng-sik whom she knew as a child. The Heartless goes beyond the level of romantic melodrama and uses these characters to depict Korea's struggles with modern culture and national identity. A long critical introduction discusses Yi Kwang-su's life and work from his birth in 1892 to the publication of his first novel The Heartless in 1917. It contains in-depth analyses of the novel, Yi Kwang-su's literary theory, and early short stories.

About the Author

Ann Sung-Hi Lee has a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and has taught at the University of Southern California, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Washington.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781885445278
ISBN-10: 188544527X
Publisher: Cornell East Asia Series
Publication Date: March 31st, 2011
Pages: 444
Language: English
Series: Cornell East Asia