Imagined, Transcultural, and Colonial Spaces in Print: Newspaper Serialization of Translated Novels in Colonial Korea

in East Asian Publishing and Society
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This essay analyzes the Korean ‘relay translation’ of a Japanese adaptation of an English popular novel, entitled Chŏngbuwŏn (A virtuous woman’s resentment) in Korean, which was serialized in a daily newspaper in the mid-1910s. In tandem with the English source text and the Japanese translation, the meaning of the Korean translation was overdetermined by advertisements for the translation, the translator’s preface and footnotes, the readers’ responses, and the serialized novel’s physical coexistence with news carried in the same visual space. Using the prism of space (both tangible and imagined) as a pivot, I argue that the publication of serialized translations of novels in newspapers was situated on the cultural front-line that confronted and negotiated the diverse constructive forces that shaped modern Korean literature. This form of publication thus highlights the characteristics of literature as process, a view that reinstates such seemingly incomplete writings and translations as authentic and legitimate cultural (literary) constituents in modern Korea.

Imagined, Transcultural, and Colonial Spaces in Print: Newspaper Serialization of Translated Novels in Colonial Korea

in East Asian Publishing and Society



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  • View in gallery
    The first installment of Chŏngbuwŏn published in Maeil sinbo on 29 October 1914. The illustration shows Captain Ko Sun-kyŏng reading a letter. The characters’ clothing and the bar setting are obviously foreign. This first installment includes a five-line footnote, located at the left end of the last (bottom) row with a small space indention on top. It explains what a violin (kunggŭm 궁금) is.
  • View in gallery
    One of the advertisements for the theater performance of Chŏngbuwŏn (Maeil sinbo, 5 March 1916). A short explanation in parentheses to the left of the photo reads, ‘French actors playing Chŏnghye and Baron Chŏng’.
  • View in gallery
    A reader’s response published in Maeil sinbo on 6 May 1915. The first and second rows carry the novel, while the reader’s response starts from the end (left side) of the second row. This response is one of the longer ones.


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