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“Sunday” by Lee Hyo-seok

#Books on Demand l 2023-04-25

Books on Demand

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Jun-bo left the house barely having finished the manuscript one week past the final deadline and over two months after the request came from the magazine publisher.

It took him nearly ten days to write 70 pages. His writing speed was neither fast nor slow, but this was the result of him staying at his desk way past midnight last night and the entire morning today. 

Since it took such an effort, he was undoubtedly filled with satisfaction and joy by the time he left his house in the afternoon with a thick bundle of paper. The reason he personally took it to the post office was from this sense of satisfaction as well as for his editor who was waiting impatiently for the finished manuscript. 

밝은 등불 아래에서 재깔거리는 그 무심한 양을 바라보면서

책상 앞에 우두커니 앉아 있는 준보에게는

낮에 거리에서 느낀 것과는 또 다른 행복감이 유연히 솟아올랐다.

어른의 세상의 행복이 아니라 아이들 세상의 행복이었다.

흠 없고 무욕하고 깨끗한 행복감이었다.

어느 곁엔지 마음이 따뜻하게 녹아지면서

차차 그 어린 세상 속에 화해 들어감을 느꼈다.

Watching the innocent lambs chatting under the bright light, Jun-bo, sitting absentmindedly at his desk, felt a kind of happiness different from the one he had felt earlier on the street. It wasn’t the grownups’ happiness, but that in the world of children, the flawless, unselfish, and untainted happiness. He felt his heart growing softer and gradually dissolving into the children’s world.

“옳지, 이것을 쓰자. 아이들의 소설을 쓰자.

 어린 것들의 자라는 양을 그리자”

“This is it. I should write children’s stories, stories about children growing up.” 

# Interview with SNU Korean literature professor Bang Min-ho

Korean writers during the Japanese occupation wrote a lot about their personal experiences. There was a literature genre of personal fiction in Japan, so people assume that Korean writers’ personal fictions took after their Japanese counterparts, but that wasn’t the case. Korean personal fictions contain political and cultural undertones and the secret self-identity as a writer living in the Japanese colonial period. Lee Hyo-seok also seemed to be writing about himself, but there were double meanings about reality and politics between the lines. Judging from Lee Hyo-seok’s story, Korean writers during this time had very strong self-identity and complicated psychology.

책상 위에는 원고지와 펜이 놓였다.

때 묻지 않은 하아얀 원고지가 등불을 받아 눈같이 희고 눈부시다.

그 깨끗한 처녀지 위에 적을 어린 소설을 생각하면서

준보의 심경도 그 종이와 같이 맑아졌다.

There was already a pen and paper on the desk. White paper with nothing on it appeared bright and spotless like snow under the light. Jun-bo’s mind cleared up like that paper while thinking about the children’s story he would be writing on that clean paper. 

“일요일의 임무는 또 한 가지 남았던 것이다.

 어린 세상을 그리는 것이다.

 인류에 희망을 두고 다른 행복을 약속할 것이다”

“I still had a job to do on Sunday. It was painting the world of children. I will place hope on mankind and promise a different happiness.” 

아침에 사랑의 소설을 쓴 준보는 

이제 또 다른 행복을 인류에게 선사하려고 

잉크병 속에 펜을 잠뿍 담았다.

흰 원고지 위에 까맣게 적힐 이야기를 기대하면서 등불은 교교히 빛나고 있다.

Jun-bo, who had written a love story in the morning, dipped his pen in the ink bottle to present mankind with another kind of happiness. The light shone brightly in expectation of the story that would fill the paper. 

조용한 밤 적막 속에 어린 것들의 재깔거리는 소리만이 

동화 속에서나 우러나오는 듯 영롱하게 울리는 것이었다.

Only the children’s chatter amid the silence of the night echoed resonantly as if coming from a fairytale.  

Lee Hyo-seok (Born in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do Prov., Feb. 23, 1907~May 25, 1942)

Debuted with short story “City and Ghost” in 1928

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