• Seopyeonje – The Southerners’ Songs

A modern classic of Korean literature

Yi Chong-jun’s haunting and disturbing novel Seopyeonje is set in the 1950s after the Korean War in the remote south of the country, home of the traditional art of pansori singing, a moving and plangently beautiful style of folk opera performed by travelling musicians.

The stories centre on a family of itinerant singers: a boy and his stepfather and half-sister; in one of the strangest and most haunting of novels, exploring themes such as forgiveness, the redemptive power of art and modern man’s loss of innocence and alienation from traditional values – the values at the heart of Seopyeonje.

A magic-realist gem, the novel employs epic, myth and fantasy to create a fusion of the real and the fantastic. Yi Chong-jun’s story has attained near-mythical status in South Korea, especially with the acclaimed and award-winning film of the novel breaking box-office records on its release in the 1990s.

Translated from the Korean by Ok Young Kim Chang


YI CHONG-JUN (1939–2008) was one of the leading South Korean novelists in recent years. Many of his works have been adapted for cinema and television. According to critic Kim Byeong-ik, Yi Chong-jun opened up a new pace of Korean literature before the true modern literature of Korea was established in the 1960s. Yi Chong-jun died from lung cancer at the age of 68 in 2008.
Bibliographic Data
Date Published 18th August 2011
ISBN Number 9780720613599
Pages 220

Seopyeonje – The Southerners’ Songs

  • £8.99


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Tags: Seopyeonje film, the southerners, southerner's song, Yi Chun Ju, Yi Chu Jung, Korean book, Korean fiction, southerner's Korea, Michael Pettid, Michael J. Pettid, YI CHONG-JUN