“Do you know of a stuffed genius?”
Yi Sang’s “The Wings” begins with this shocking sentence.
Do you know of a genius that has beenstuffed?
I am jolly. Dating at a time like this is jolly.
The mind become clear like a silver coin only when the body is exhausted to the point of faltering.
When nicotine seeps into my parasite-infested stomach, my head usually gets ready to turn into a white paper.
I place wit and paradox on top of it, like go stones. It is a detestable disease of common sense.
‘박제가 되어 버린 천재’를 아시오?
나는 유쾌하오. 이런 때 연애까지가 유쾌하오.
육신이 흐느적흐느적하도록 피로했을 때만 정신이 은화(銀貨)처럼 맑소.
니코틴이 내 횟배 앓는 뱃속으로 스미면 머릿속에 으레 백지가 준비되는 법이오.
그 위에다 나는 위트와 패러독스를 바둑 포석처럼 늘어놓소. 가증할 상식의 병이오.
#Prof. Bang Min-ho/ Dept. of Korean Literature and Language, Seoul Nat’l Univ.
Don’t we get a strong impression from the phrase “a genius that has been stuffed?” Being stuffed means that something is really dead even though it retains the shape of a living thing. So, the question asks whether we know of a genius whose life force has been lost. It also points to his own sense of loss and anguish as a genius writer who has lost his life force.
The 1930s, the time when Yi Sang and the main character had lived, was when Japanese oppression and crippling capitalism were at their extremes. They both wanted to flee from that time and that harsh world and become completely free.
Wings, sprout up again.
Let’s fly, let’s fly, let’s fly.
Let’s fly just once more.
Let’s fly just one more time.
날개야 다시 돋아라
날자 날자 날자
한 번만 더 날자꾸나
한 번만 더 날아보자꾸나
Yi Sang: Born in 1910. Real name Kim Hae-gyeong.
Debuted as professional writer by publishing the poem “A Strange Reversible Reaction” in 1931
“The Wings” was published in journal “Jogwang” in September, 1936.
Regarded as Korea’s first modernism novel.
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