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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Korean books 2: North Korean poetry collections

North Korean poetry collections

Just a bit of eye-candy for book-lovers really. These are six poetry collections from North Korea dating from the late fifties to early sixties. I think the prints are really nice and very much of their time, although of course things haven't moved on that much in the DPRK and you can pick up books from only a few years ago that have very similar covers.

One thing that is very noticeable about these books is that apart from the one in the top centre (건설의 나날) they all depict very rural or wild scenes and they have titles like 'The Embrace of the Earth' (대지의품). It is interesting and perhaps surprising to note that at a time of massive industrialisation the nostalgic/romantic fetishisation of nature seems to have been a major theme (ok so I haven't actually read the poems, but there's something to be said for judging a book by its cover). I say surprising because we tend to think of 'communist'/state capitalist countries as fetishising industrialisation itself.

If you look closely at the two books to the bottom left you will see, however, that the pastoral scenes do include some form of farm machinery or tractors - clearly a hint at rural progress.


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