Koreans and books
Unfortunately, the modern Russian reader knows almost nothing about South Korean literature. This is largely the result of those prohibitions that have existed in the USSR for several decades to anyone, even the most seemingly innocuous contacts with South Korea. Meanwhile, Koreans are a reading nation, and Korean writers have created very interesting literature in recent decades, about which, however, in the USSR / Russian Federation / CIS is not really known to even specialists.
However, today I will not talk about the modern Korean literature, its features and problems. I am not very competent in this, and I can only hope that this gap in the representation of Russians about Korea will sooner or later being replenished. Our theme is different – not Korean literature or a book case by itself, and the role that books (both art and other) play in the daily lives of Koreans.
Although I started an article from the statement that Koreans are "Reading nation", Statistics says that the number of read books Koreans is inferior to residents of some developed countries. I, however, are not going to give up my words. The fact is that, although there are social groups in the country, whose representatives do not think their lives without a book, not all Koreans read a lot. Statistics, first of all, "Portiy" Representatives of strong sex, aged 25 to 55 years, that is, working Koreans. Indeed, working Korean reads little, if he reads at all, and it would be strange if things were different: after spending 8-11 hours at work and then another 1-2 hours in a crowded subway or in a car, which, with a turtle speed, sneaks through countless traffic jams who returned from work man hardly take a book. At best, it is limited to a TV and a newspaper, but rather, throwing a couple of words with his wife and children, will sleep sleep.
The reading audience is the part of the Koreans, who, on the one hand, is education and taste for reading, and on the other – the leisure required for this occupation. These people include, in particular, students (schoolchildren are too busy – they are preparing for entrance exams), teachers and teachers, housewives and, in part, working young women, in their offices, there are much less load and responsibility than their Men colleagues. The predominance of women in the Korean reading public is obvious (one of the local critics somehow stated that the proportion of women among readers of prose in Korea is 80%).
Number of books issued in Korea in 1996. It was exactly twice as bigger than in 1980. (26.674 and 13.062 respectively). The total circulation rose during this time even more significantly – three times. However, the growth of obams slowed down around 1990. And since then, about 26-29 thousand names of books in the year is produced in Korea. This is a good indicator. In terms of the names of the books of Korea, only twice is inferior to the United States (under the population, five times less), and in two and a half times in India (with a population of 20 times less). In Russia in 1994. 30 came out.390 names of books, that is, a little more than in Korea. At the same time it is necessary to remember that the population is three times more. Thus, Korean performance is quite good.
Speaking of Korean books, it is impossible not to note their relative cheap. The book published in a massive circuit in a soft binding, a regular format, with good quality paper and printing, about 300 pages, stands in Korea somewhere 6 – 8 thousand wing (5-7 $). Monograph or Major Edition in hardcover had to pay 15-25 thousand won ($ 12-20). This price may seem an expensive Russian reader, but in fact, compared with prices for similar books in the West countries, it is surprisingly low (the massive book of the usual format is $ 15-20, and a special monograph in solid binding – from 40 up to 100 dollars).
What reads the modern Korean citizen? If we talk about artistic literature, then in the seventies, the greatest popularity of the books are most popular, dedicated to the philosophical issues of human being. It is significant that this was the time of hobby in the classical Russian literature, the influence of which in those years has reached its peak. In the eighties, democratization and mitigation of censorship restrictions led to the flourishing of political and historical novel. This novel in South Korea wore (and usually still wears) left, often – even a prommunist character. Heroes of books often became organizers of strikes or partisans-Communists of the Times of the Korean War. Of course, such editions caused a dental brine from the conservative part of the destroyment, but they used consuming commercial successes (recent "the Forbidden fruit" sweet), so that the publisher released from censorship was released their willingly.
In the nineties, the collapse of the system of socialism and depoliticization, the deideologicalization of Korean society led to the fact that interest in these works, and to serious literature, in general, to the middle of the nineties significantly decreased. The epoch of the entertainment novel came, the time of reading has come. Present, "High" Literature also largely reoriented with the problems of society to the issues of individual life and the inner world of man.
Actually entertaining literature in Korea, that is, so to speak, "Low genres", presented in the main transfer of American publications. Among the entertainment genres is dominated by a detective, both criminal and spy-political. Although in Korea and there is its own tradition of a detective, but the vast majority prefers the translations of Western authors. This also applies to all kinds of thrillers and adventure literature, as well as fiction. The popularity of science fiction in Korea is generally lower than in Russia or Western countries. If we talk about fashionable magic fiction genre in recent years ("Fantasy"), then he is in Korea in general somewhere on the backyards of the book market. At the same time, there are millions of urban housewives in the country, which form hardly the only group of adult population with free time. They create a favorable ground for distribution here "Damsky" Love Romana.
One of the peculiarities of Korea is that all kinds of documentary and seductive works are very popular among the local reading public: essays, popular science publications, travel essays. Unlike many other countries, these publications in Korea in their popularity among the mass reader are not inferior to fiction. A significant part of such publications is transfers, so almost all notable Western work devoted to history, politics, economics, philosophy appear on Korean very soon after entering them in the original.
Koreans are generally well familiar with world literature, although her perception – the selection of books for translation, the authority of a writer – generally reflects American estimates and traditions, in many ways other than those who used to Russian reader. With this, both good knowledge of the Koreans American and in general English literature, while the writers of other countries are paid noticeably less attention. However, some of the traditional cultural relations have their influence, and, for example, a Chinese historical romance, both classic and modern, very love to Koreans.
Russian literature penetrated Korea in the colonial period (in secondary translations from Japanese or, less likely, from English) and used there, especially in the sixties and seventies, considerable popularity. In the last couple of decades, a decrease in the interest in serious literature has led to the fact that the popularity of Russian authors has declined somewhat, but it still remains high enough (President Kim Ta Zhong, for example, considers it his favorite authors of Dostoevsky and Chekhov, which he in due time read a lot in prison). What works of Russian literature Koreans know best, you can judge the popular reference here "200 best works of world literature". Russian literature in it is represented by 5 names: "Brothers Karamazov", "Fathers and Sons", "Anna Karenina", "Mother", "Lady with a dog". For some reason did not fall there, however, "Crime and Punishment", which is also very popular in Korea.