Fri, 12 December 2014
Above Seoul's Itaewon district, Colin talks with Open Books acquiring editor Gregory Limpens. They discuss what kind of foreign literature Koreans like to read, and their loyalty to authors they've already enjoyed; how the mission of Open Books fits into shaping that taste; how he got from growing up in Belgium to bringing foreign literature in Korea (and practicing trademark law somewhere in the middle); what about his first, traveling impressions of Seoul stoked his desire to live there; his impression of the future-orientation of Korea versus the historical orientation of Belgium; the nature of "Brusselization"; how he discovered the traditional Korean sensibility of not showing off (and how he sees that changing); whether the multilingualism of his homeland helped him get in the frame of mind to learn Korean; the widening vase as a metaphor for language acquisition; whether Koreans have any particular expectations of Belgians, and where they fit into the apparent hierarchy of foreigners in Korea; what happens at the Seoul International Book Fair, and why Belgium may never get an invitation as its guest nation of honor; what happens when he tries to recommend a browser something at the Open Books booth, and why that can be a discouraging practice in Korean culture; what he knows about translation that makes him always want to read books in the original language; how "l'exception française" has produced a great deal of literature; how often he meets Korean French-speakers; how a Korean Belgian waffle differs from a Belgian Belgian waffle; his sole moment of homesickness in a decade of life in Korea; the changes in his responses to his own periodic assessment, "Why do I like it here?"; what has made him lose confidence in his grasp of Korean literary taste; why Hitler remains a big thematic name in Europe, but probably wouldn't play in Korea; the success of Korean "fables for adults"; his pride in Open Books bringing out titles like Michel Houellebecq's Atomized, and the literary aejeong he feels for ones like his countryman Dimitri Verhulst's The Misfortunates; how writers react to seeing their novels in Korean translation; how much Korean readers care about book design; how Korean bookstores feel different.
Direct download: NCC_Korea_Tour_Gregory_Limpens.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:49pm UTC