Who is Gasan?

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Lee Hyo-seok, who wrote under the pen-name ‘Gasan’ (가산) was born February 23, 1907 in Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do. He was deeply impressed by Chekhov and Thomas Mann and graduated first in his class at the Gyeongseong Je-il Academy.

Lee enrolled in Gyeongseong Imperial University in 1925, the same year, his poem “Spring” (Bom) was published in the Daily News(매일신보). At Gyeongsong Lee published his poetry in a student magazine (Clear and Cool or Cheongnyang), and in a literary coterie journal (Friends in Literature or 무누).

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He graduated in 1930 with a degree in English Literature and worked for a short stint in the censorship section of the Police Affairs Division of the Japanese Government-General. Lee then moved to his wife’s hometown of Gyeongseong, Hamgyeongbuk-do, where he worked as an English teacher. In 1934 he began teaching at Soongsil University in Pyeongyang. He died in May 1942 at the age of 35 after suffering meningitis.

Lee wrote more than 70 pieces of fiction and first attracted attention of the literary world in 1928 when his story ˹City and Ghost˼ was published in <Joseon Jigwang>1. Lee published many other works including ˹Unanticipated Meeting˼, ˹Shattered Red Lantern˼ and ˹At Sea Near Russia˼, all of which reflected his socialist sympathies.

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His famous short story When Buckwheat Blossoms Bloom that become one of the reference for modern writing. I will share with all of you about this famous romantic story in the nest post.

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