Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The Vanguard: A Tale of Korea by James Scarth Gale
An American missionary tells about his life in Korea at the end of the 19th century, before the Japanese Occupation and the fall of the Kingdom/Empire. Living with a houseboy, called “the dragon” in a small town north of Pyeongyang, Gale became fully immersed in the culture, and describes his earnest efforts to provide both spiritual relief and assistance toward a small community bound by poverty. He witnessed a Japanese invasion and its bloody aftermath. Along with the archaic language, the narrative reveals an immediacy of time and place, with photographs enhancing the visual picture of this rarely seen Western perspective and view of Korea's recent past. Published in 1904. Also see Lillian Underwood’s memoir, Fifteen Years Among the Top-Knots: Life in Korea.