Re-envisioning Literature and History: An Annotated Translation of Two Short Stories by Jin Renshun
McCormick, Evan Randolph
University of Kansas
East Asian Languages & Cultures
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Jin Renshun (b. 1970) is one of the most influential Chinese female authors born during the 1970s. From the mid- 1990s onward, she has written a large number of works in a range of genres and themes including play scripts and movie screenplays. As a Chinese citizen with Korean heritage, often referred to as Korean-Chinese, or of the Korean-Chinese ethnic minority, Jin Renshun grew up in a family steeped in Korean language and culture. While she writes about a wide range of topics, throughout her career she has consistently written period short stories about ancient Korean kingdoms. Her works, "Spring in the Conquered City" 城春草木深 and "The Entertainer" 伎, both translated here, are two examples in this genre that demonstrate her inventive approach to writing about ethnic Korean culture. While Jin's prolific career has garnered much attention from scholars in China, there has been virtually no scholarly work done on her in English and very few of her works have been translated into English. Furthermore, the manner in which these short stories re-envision the Korean literary canon as well as historical events in Korean history highlights the unique perspectives and insights she has developed in part through her bi-cultural Korean-Chinese identity. The short stories translated here and the accompanying analysis constitute an attempt to bring much deserved attention to her works and understand them in the context of both Chinese and Korean literary traditions.
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