[KS] Korean Shakespeare-movies or -dramas?

Brother Anthony ansonjae at sogang.ac.kr
Fri Jul 18 19:21:40 EDT 2008

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The obvious starting point will be the PhD dissertation written by Jong-hwan Kim in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1992, 
Shakespeare in Korea: 1906-1989
 The abstract is open, you can purchase a file of the whole dissertation at 

In 1906, the name of Shakespeare became known in Korea, but it was not until 1919 that one of his plays was introduced to Koreans through Ku Lee-byung's translation of The Tempest from Charles Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare. Since then, Shakespeare's works have been frequently translated, produced, and studied in Korea.

The purpose of this study is to examine how Koreans received, translated, produced, and studied Shakespeare from 1906 to 1989. Chapter One discusses the early Korean reception of Shakespeare between 1906 and 1918 in its historical context, a period in which fragmentary information about Shakespeare, the titles of his works, and a few lines from his plays were introduced.

The second chapter introduces the Korean translations of Shakespeare from 1919 to 1989, with special attention to Hyun Chul's translation of Hamlet in 1923 and two complete translations of all of Shakespeare's works in 1964: one that of Kim Jae-nam, the other a collaborative translation by several scholars published by Chungeum Publishing.

The Korean staging of Shakespeare's plays is the subject of Chapter Three, focusing on Shinhyup's wartime productions (1951-1953) and the productions at the Korean Shakespeare Festival in honor of Shakespeare's quadricentennial birthday in 1964, the most important year in the history of Shakespeare in Korea.

Chapter Four is a historical survey of Korean studies of Shakespeare since the 1930's, with an emphasis on the period after 1953. Early journalistic writings prior to 1953 will be introduced, followed by the studies of various Shakespearean scholars--especially Choi Jai-sou, Yoh Suck-kee, and Lee Kyung-shik. There is also a discussion of Korean dissertations on Shakespeare produced between 1961 and 1989.

The fifth chapter investigates the development of Korean scholarship on Shakespeare, focusing primarily on articles about the four great tragedies published after 1953. The influences of A. C. Bradley, E. M. W. Tillyard, Theodore Spencer, Caroline Spurgeon, and G. Wilson Knight on Korean scholarship are discussed as well. The final chapter discusses the future of Korean studies of Shakespeare.

An appendix, listing all articles, books, dissertations, theses, and selective translations of Shakespeare in Korea, concludes the dissertation.
For more recent information, you should write directly to the President of the Shakespeare Association of Korea, Professor Im Song-Kyun of Sookmyung Womens' University at  
skyim at sookmyung.ac.kr
 asking him to put you in touch with the scholars best able to answer your questions. The Association has a home page at 
  but I fear it is all in Korean.
Brother Anthony
Sogang University, Seoul

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