1st Edition

The Life and Works of Korean Poet Kim Myŏng-sun The Flower Dream of a Woman Born Too Soon

By Jung Ja Choi Copyright 2023
    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Life and Works of Korean Poet Kim Myŏng-sun offers an introduction to Korea’s first modern woman writer to publish a collection of creative works, Kim Myŏng-sun (1896–ca. 1954). Despite attempts by male contemporaries to assassinate her character, Kim was an outspoken writer and an early feminist, confronting patriarchal Korean society in essays, plays, poems, and short stories.

    This volume is the first to offer a detailed analysis in English of Kim’s poetry. The poems examined in this volume can be considered early twentieth-century versions of #MeToo literature, mirroring the harrowing account of her sexual assault, and also subversive challenges to traditional institutions, dealing with themes such as romantic free love, same-sex love, single womanhood, and explicit female desire and passion. The Life and Works of Korean Poet Kim Myŏng-sun restores a long-neglected woman writer to her rightful place in the history of Korean literature, shedding light on the complexity of women’s lives in Korea and contributing to the growing interest in modern Korean women’s literature in the West.


    Part I. The Life of Kim Myŏng-sun

    1. Early Years and Literary Activities

    2. Shameful Stories: Rumors, Scandals, Slander

    3. Disappearance, Proclaimed Death, and Rediscovery of Kim Myŏng-sun’s Works

    Part II. The Works of Kim Myŏng-sun

    4. Love’s Betrayal and #MeToo: "The Flower-Dream of the Morning Dew"

    5. The Mother as Protection and Muse: "The First Dream of T’ansil" and Other Poems

    6. In Her Own Words: "Half of My Life in Verse"

    7. Poems on Yŏnae or Romantic Love



    Jung Ja Choi is a lecturer in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. She received her Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and previously taught at Dartmouth College and Washington University in St. Louis.