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Introduction Material on Lee Seung-U


Lee Seung-U was born in 1960, studied theology at university and made his literary debut in 1981. Today, Lee is a leading philosophical novelist of Korea. Throughout his career, Lee has maintained an interest in theological and metaphysical questions, and this is reflected in his writing style that meticulously depicts the inner workings of humans. Also, his works deal with questions about morals arising in the quotidian life as well as more universal issues concerning god, salvation, and guilt. In the Beginning, There Was the Temptation, an adaptation of the Book of Genesis, reflects his interest in theological questions. When the translation of The Reverse Side of Life, a work dealing with the concept of guilt, was published in France, Le Mondemade the following comment: “Overly intense at times and exceedingly fluid at others, this moving, weighty novel that emerged from a quiet, serious soul is sure to attract the interest of the true aficionados of literature.” After 2000, moving away from the philosophical themes of his previous works, Lee began publishing novels that inquire into the meaning of the reality and the everydayness, bringing together the sacred and the secular, and the mind and the body. Lee’s works include About Solar EclipseA Portrait of ErysichtonI Will Live Long, and A Help Wanted AdThe Private Lives of of Plants has been translated into French and published under the title La vie rêvée des plantes by Gallimard as a part of Collection Folio. Currently Lee is a professor of creative writing at Chosun University.

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