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The Dissection and Defense of Mankind: Kindhearted Bokhee by Park Wansuh


Park Wansuh was born in 1931. She appeared on the literary scene in 1970 at the rather late age of forty, but has been pursuing an extremely active writing career ever since. Now, at the age of seventy-seven, she is one of the oldest writers in Korea. She has written novels in diverse genres including postwar novels, urban novels, novels about women, and novels concerning people in their old age, but one can say that the underlying theme of her work is the exploration of the intrinsic nature of human beings. It is hardly surprising then that recently she has started to write about the elderly. However, in her own words, “it is not only the elderly who read Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’” and likewise she herself has received an overwhelming response from readers of all age groups. This is because the elderly people in Park Wanseo’s novels have qualities that all humans can relate to. For the same reason, her work has been described as “literature that, like a dinosaur, does not stop growing” and “a mighty living tree among Korean novels.”



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