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Karel Čapek invites the Korean reader once again, translation of novel Krakatit published

To commemorate 30th Anniversary of Czech-Korean Relations, a translation of the utopian novel Krakatit by Karel Čapek was published with the support of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Seoul. The book was translated by Kim Kyu-jin, professor of Czech Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
 

Several other works by Karel Čapek, who is very popular in Korea, have previously been translated (with the support of the Embassy) into Korean as well. Together with the philosophical Stories from a Pocket and Stories from Another Pocket other works such as War with the Newts, the noetic trilogy of Hordubal, Povětroň and An Ordinary Life as well as Apocryphal Tales, R.U.R., Pictures from the Insects' Life, The Makropulos Affair, The White Disease, The Mother and The Absolute at Large.

The novel Krakatit, which is based around an invention similar to the one described in his previous novel The Absolute at Large and which warns against the dangers of misuse of science is considered to introduce its main ideas well ahead of its time, as it is the case with many of Čapek’s works. Despite being published in 1924, it describes an explosive known as Krakatit, which is able to dissolve any matter into atoms leading to a release of huge amounts of energy.

The Korean reader can be intrigued by the main philosophical line of the book, where Čapek puts in contrast the selfish wants of people, here depicted as the attempts to take over the world using the Krakatit explosive on the one hand, with the personal responsibility of the individual – the inventor responsible for his invention on the other hand. Čapek stresses the need for the unbridled passions of people to stand aside and give way to rational thinking.