21.6 x 13.8 cm. 262 pp. 2003
It is well known that through their plays and lecture tours the dramatists of the Irish Literary Revival influenced and inspired those of America and elsewhere to set up their own national theatres and theatre movements, but most students of the Revival are unaware of just how far this influence extended. It would surely have surprised the founders and early playwrights of the Abbey Theatre to learn that their plays were not only being published in Japan (which they knew), but were also influencing translators, playwrights, critics and theatre associations in Korea – though it is hardly surprising that with little knowledge of Irish culture the translators often misinterpreted the plays and gave them political or social slants entirely lacking in the originals.
In the present work, Won-Jae Jang describes the development of Korean theatre societies such as the Theatre Arts Association, the Earth Moon Society, and the Theatre Arts Research Association during the first quarter of the 20th century, how plays by Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge, Lord Dunsany, Sean O’Casey and T.C. Murray were interpreted – or misinterpreted – by Korean translators, and then describes their impact on Korean dramatists, showing in particular how the work of Synge and O’Casey influenced Chi-Jin Yoo (translations of three of whose plays – The Cow, The Mud Hut and The Donkey – are published in a companion volume, ISBN 978-0-86140-452-0), and Murray influenced Se-Deok Ham. This work therefore opens up Irish Drama’s hitherto little-known influences on a region of the Eastern hemisphere.
Won-Jae Jang was born in Seoul, graduated from Korea University (BA), and Goldsmiths College, University of London (MA), and was granted his PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2000. He is now working for Soongsil University as a Junior Professor.