S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.32 (2003)
Edgar Allan Poe의 "The Raven"과 이태준의 "까마귀"
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.32, pp. 129-151
- It is evident that Poe's “The Raven” influenced Lee, Tae-jun's short story “The Crow”; the hero of the story mentions Poe, “The Raven," and Lenore in a soliloquy. Besides this internal evidence, one of Lee's articles for a daily newspaper hints at his indebtedness to the poem for the conception of the story. Also a close reading of Lee's other writings shows that he was well aware of Poe's works--not only his popular tales and poems but also such critical writings as “The Philosophy of Composition" and his review of “Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales." This paper purports to examine the text of Lee's story to determine the extent of his indebtedness to Poe's poem and to find out what he created himself for the story. As Poe did in “The Raven," Lee features in his story a crow as a bird of ill omen and a female character who is dying young. But the similarity between the two works ends there. Instead of Poe's somber, fantastic, and grotesque atmosphere and bizarre estheticism, Lee opts for a very realistic vein for the narrative--his heroine is not a personification of ideal beauty, nor is his bird capable of human speech. Lee's story has two layers of meaning. At the surface level, it is a story of a poor writer who retreats to a secluded village where he befriends a young woman for a short period of time before she dies of tuberculosis. But the story can also be read as a metaphor for the difficulties Lee faces as an artist harassed by Japanese colonialization on the one hand and ideological conflicts on the other. Read in this way, it reveals Lee's determination to brave the difficulties that loom large in his future and to maintain his artistic integrity with stoic fortitude. The analysis shows that Lee's indebtedness to Poe's poem is not substantial. He borrows from it only the basic frame for his story and he fills it with his own stuff. And while Poe tends to escape into fantasy and arcane lore, Lee is firmly anchored to the hard realities of his days. So all in all, we can conclude that Lee's story is a creative variation, not a mere prose rendition, of Poe's poem.