'Gone with
the Wind' in
Pyongyang

Great Lines of World Literature in North Korean Translation // The first lines of Margaret Mitchell's great southern epic in the original North Korean

Like my father before me, I will work the land
Like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand
He was just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet,
You can't raise a Caine back up when he's in defeat.
-The Band

The North Korean translation of the great southern epic Gone with the Wind (바람과 함께 사라지다) is divided into three parts. Paper copies of part I of this popular novel are rare (it took me a year to track down), while parts II and III are more readily available. Like everywhere, ambitious North Korean readers purchase the first book in a series, only to later run out of steam and abandoning the whole endeavor. The bookshelves of many a Pyongyang home no doubt keep one-third of Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 classic.*

And so, today we bring you the first line of Gone with the Wind in the original North Korean:

스칼레트 오하라는 미인이 아니였지만 그 녀자의 매력에 한번 반하고나면 탈톤네 쌍둥이형제가 그랬던것처럼 남자들은 좀처럼 그것을 느끼지 못하였다.

Or as it reads in English…

Scarlet O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

Today we’ll avoid drawing any speculative parallels to ‘Northern Aggression’, ‘Yankees’ (양키), and (the) General Sherman, and just mention that the novel is quite popular in Pyongyang. Scarlet O’Hara, in particular, is admired for her strength, independence, and determination in difficult times, as well as for her charm. The 1991 Alexandra Ripley sequel Scarlett has also been translated in North Korea, but like just about everywhere else, it was not well received.

When you next take a tour of Pyongyang, ask for the English-version of Gone with the Wind at check out desk of the Grand People's Study House.

And here is the opening to the 1939 film Gone with the Wind.

*Luckily these days, Parts I-III are today widely available as eBooks.

The Pyongyang Review of Books (PYRB) is a modest literary review of books from the DPRK and Korea related topics.

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