And So Flows History
By Hahn Moo-Sook
Translated by Young-Key Kim-Renaud

344 pp.  2005. University of Hawaii Press

paper, ISBN 0-8248-2908-5, $20.00 / cloth, ISBN 0-8248-2888-7, $50.00


A deeply compelling saga of love, jealousy, honor, and greed, And So Flows History (Yŏksanŭn hŭrŭnda, 1948) depicts the relentless power of exterior forces on the individual lives of three generations of the illustrious Cho family—from the waning years of the Chosŏn dynasty in the late nineteenth century to the tumultuous post-liberation era. The novel opens with a tragic confrontation between two classes: the rape of a young slave by her master, the respected magistrate Cho Tongjun. Within a year, the magistrate has been murdered by Tonghak rebels, and his two sons are leading the family to ruin—one on account of his blind adherence to tradition, the other owing to his collaboration with the Japanese. Only Tongjun’s youngest child provides hope for the future through her marriage to a enlightened young teacher and patriot.


"[This] is the first modern Korean novel that defines, both in duration of its action and the issues it addresses, the trajectory of recent Korean history. . . . [Hahn Moo-Sook] devises a form, which can be characterized as a novel of ideas, in which each character is a symbolic figure, and which interweaves the lives of the Cho family with the social forces of the time. Enormously influential, it prefigures such themes as tradition versus modernization, the repositioning of gender, the redefinition and recomposition of class, the interaction between Koreans in Korea, and those in the diaspora that are taken up in later works." —from the Introduction by JaHyun Kim Haboush

Hahn Moo-Sook (1918-1993) is one of Korea's most celebrated writers of modern realist literature. She received many awards for her writing, including the 1986 Grand Prix of the Republic of Korea Literature Award for her novel Encounter. And So Flows History, Hahn's first novel, received first prize in a 1947 contest organized by a major Korean daily. Young-Key Kim-Renaud is the eldest daughter of Hahn Moo-Sook. She is chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and professor of Korean language and culture and international affairs at George Washington University, Washington, D.C.


(한무숙 역사는 흐른다 영역) 작가의 장녀인 김영기교수가 20년에 걸쳐 번역 출판한 작품으로 이조말에서 해방직후에 이르기까지 한국 현대역사를 배경으로 어느 양반가의 삼대의 역대기로 어느 작은 인간도 역사의 물결을 타지 않을 없으면서도 궁극적으로는 자기의 운명은 자기의 인간성과 본인의 선택이 좌우하고 마는 것을 보이는 대하소설이다. 한무숙의 대담한 역사관, 한국의 문화, 한국어의 향기가 그윽한 그의 언어가 특정인 작품운 그의 가주대학출판사에서 나온 그의 다른 소설, Encounter (“만남”) 함께 저명한 출판사를 통하여 세계 무대에 소개돤 극소수의 한국 현대소설가의 하나이다. 수많은 독자를 자랑하는 교포애독지, Korean Quarterly에서 한무숙의 박력, 휩쓰는 문체, 자상한 구체적인 묘사, 그리고 작중 인물들의 구성과 한국의 사회, 정치, 교육 구조와 변화 등의 광범위한 소재를 갖춘 데에 극찬하였고, 번역이 아주 친근하고 매듭없이 부드럽다는 셔평을 하였다그외 여러 학술지와 미국도서관학회에서도 작품의 우월성이 인정되고 대학생, 교수, 일반인을 위한 저서로 추천되었다




“Hahn’s writing has great strength and vitality. She has a sweeping narrative style and meticulous attention to detail. Strong characterization of men and women are set against Korea’s tumultuous historical period. The details of Korean life during the last period of the dynasty, and the period of Japanese colonialism are authentic because the author knew of or lived in that time. The lives of the high class, the education for civil service, and the breakdown of the stratified class structures are convincingly depicted. This is the best and most original literature of the colonial period by a Korean author. The translations by Hahn’s daughter Young-Key Kim-Renaud are intimate and seamless.” Bill Drucker, Korean Quarterly, Winter 2005/2006.


“Beyond being an interesting Korean novel that is now available in English, I envision that this work will have strong merit as a teaching tool in the classroom. The translation of the novel by Young-Key Kim-Renaud, Hahn’s daughter, is excellent and well captures the rhythm and flow of the original Korean text. Consequently used as a reading in a Korean culture, literature, or religion class, this work will greatly assist students in appreciating the range and syncretic nature of customs in late Chosŏn and early twentieth century Korea, not always an easy task for instructors. Accordingly, I highly recommend this work and welcome a valuable addition to the materials available for teaching Korean culture.”by Michael J. Pettid, Asian Folklore Studies, 2006


“The novel … is terrific: recounting slave rapes, bastardy, underground liberation movements, mysterious overseas benefactors, Japanese brutality, and a collapsing aristocracy, it is a riveting eye-opener into Korean history and an invaluable addition to collections supporting Asian literature. Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general T. Carolan, Choice  Vol. 43,  Iss. 6, February 2006


“The most dynamic moments in the novel are those where individuals suddenly find within themselves the strength to overcome their own inclinations and forget themselves, as they generously, selflessly turn toward others in greater need. That, always, is the most beautiful thing we could hope to find, anywhere.” by Anthony of Taize, Acta Koreana Volume 9 Number 2, July 2006


“Originally published in 1948 to critical acclaim, Hahn’s novel has remained popular with Korean readers, and it is easy to see why. The novel charts many major social, political and cultural changes in Korea from the late nineteenth century until liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945, and does so through an examination of the intersecting lives of various characters from a representative cross-section of Korean society during that tumultuous fifty years. As can be guessed, the novel requires a reader’s full attention, and readers will be thankful for the inclusion of a listing of principal characters with brief biographical descriptions, family trees for the three main families, and a glossary of cultural and historical terms. … Despite the story’s complexity, there are two central elements: first, the nature of accidents and their unintended consequences; and second, the malleability of some – if not all – human beings, for both good and Gregory N. Evon, Asian Studies Review, October 2006


“Hahn is superb in her delineations of the complex inner workings of a well-to-do yangban family in the waning years of the Chosŏn dynasty…One of the successes of the novel…is the vivid and detailed delineations of these women who make up the very core and engine of these households, and worthy of especial mention is the view of family life from the perspective of the slave family…a view that is mostly missing in historical documents.” by Kichung Kim, Journal of Asian Studies, Volume 66 Number 3, 2007