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파주 – 차페크 소설 <도룡뇽과의 전쟁> 국내에서 한국어로 첫 번역출판

카렐 차페크의 소설 <도룡뇽과의 전쟁>이 최근 한국어로 번역 출판되었다. 출판사 ‚열린책들‘에서 출판한 이번 <도룡뇽과의 전쟁> 과 함께 지금까지 한국어로 번역된 차페크의 책은 삼부작 <호루두발>, <유성>, <평범한 인생>이 있다.

Karel Čapek – the most famous Czech writer before Milan Kundera and a strong (although due to political reasons unsuccessful) contender for Nobel Prize for literature in the 1930s – is already well-known to Korean public due to numerous translations of his short stories. Korean editions of Čapek´s trilogy – Hordubal, Meteor and An Ordinary Life – are also available, but probably the most well-known to Korean readers is his play R. U. R. Rossum´s Universal Robots, which saw many Korean editions since it was published in Korean translation for the first time in the mid-1920s. With an interest created by the leading Korean dramatists and literati of those times, among them Kim U-jin (Kim Woo-jin), who wrote a series of articles on Čapek and his dramas, Karel Čapek was one of the most well-known European playwrights among Korean writers until the 1960s.

Not only that War with the Newts (Válka s mloky, 1936) is Čapek´s most emblematic book, but the first Korean edition of this Karel Čapek´s work published by an acclaimed Korean publisher Open Books (www.openbooks.co.kr) is in many ways unique. Its graphic design was especially made as a tribute to one of the finest original Czech editions of this Čapek´s novel published by Prague-based (and now defunct state-run) Státní nakladatelství krásné literatury a umění (State Publishing House of Belles-Lettres and Arts), the most prestigious Czech publisher during the times of cultural awakening in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s. With at least thirty different editions in its original Czech until today, Čapek´s War with the Newts is a highly-sought challenge for many Czech illustrators and designers since it has been published for the first time 75 years ago. It saw many editions made by leading Czech artists – from Karel Čapek´s brother Josef (designer of the 1930s editions), through famous avant-garde leftist graphic artist, architect and painter  Karel Teige (1900-1951), author of the mid-1940s covers, his colleague, high-ranking state official and diplomat and later on political dissident Adolf Hoffmeister (1902-1973), who collaborated on an edition of 1958, up to the acclaimed Czech artists Adolf Born (b. 1930) and Oldřich Kulhánek (b. 1940), who – each of them – prepared coffee-table fully-illustrated editions of War with the Newts in 1986 and 1989.

The first Korean edition is based on Czech edition, which was awarded the most beautifful Czechoslovak book of the year. Its authors were household names in the Czech art field. Illustrator Teodor Rotrekl (1923-2004), one of the most famous Czech illustrators of science fiction from the 1950s-1990s, showed a bit different side of his artistic side in this book, which did not followed a realistic works he was better known through his life. Rotrekl joined his forces on this edition with his artistic colleague – a fellow member of Výtvarná skupina Radar (Radar Art Group) – graphic artist and designer Václav Bláha (b. 1922), books he designed, have been awarded the most beautiful book in Czechoslovakia not least than thirteen times in between 1958 and 1985.

Korean edition of War with the Newts was translated by Kim Sun-hyeong, respected translator of works by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Hornby or Douglas Adams. She used the best English-language translaton by Ewald Osers, who made this translation from original Czech very recently for a new US edition of Čapek´s works.

There is also a long introduction to life and work of Karel Čapek written by the translator, a bio-bibliography of Čapek´s works and an essay by Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Korea Mr. Jaroslav Olša, jr., where he describes his personal atttitued towards this Čapek´s books, his most favourite.

A Korean of this famous Czech novel created an interest also in the Czech Republic, where a few articles have been published in daily Právo and various web pages.

Very innovative is also Open Books´ press release, which was sent around Korea to promote the publication.