Poole, Janet

Janet Poole Professor Janet Poole.
(Ph.D., Columbia University)

Associate Professor and Distinguished Professor of the Humanities
Department of East Asian Studies
Office Location: Robarts Library #14092 (14th Floor)
E-mail: janet[dot]poole[at]utoronto[dot]ca

My research and teaching interests lie in aesthetics in the broad context of colonialism and modernity, in history and theories of translation, and in the creative practice of literary translation. My book, When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea, writes the creative works of Korea’s writers into the history of global modernism, and colonialism into the history of fascism, through an exploration of the writings of poets, essay writers, fiction writers and philosophers from the final years of the Japanese empire. It won the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize (2015) and Honorable Mention for the Association of Asian Studies James B. Palais Prize (2016). The book was the result of a decade spent thinking about the possibilities of art under the harshest of political regimes, the shaping power of colonial fascism and the creative responses that emerged from its midst. I discuss the book in a podcast and in a YouTube video.

I am a translator of the mid-century writer Yi T’aejun and have published a collection of his best short fiction from 1925 through 1950, by which time he had moved to North Korea (Dust and Other Stories, Columbia University Press); and a collection of his anecdotal essays originally published during the Asia-Pacific War (Eastern Sentiments, Columbia University Press, paperback edition, 2013), which offers a quirky take on everyday life in 1930s Korea: wistful, nostalgic and violently colonial.

At present, I am working on a SSHRC-funded project titled “Going North and the History of Korean Modernism.” This project looks at decolonization and the question of literary style in the work of writers who crossed the 38th parallel from the southern to the northern zone of the Korean peninsula in the late 1940s. I am also translating the short fiction of another mid-century writer, Ch’oe Myŏngik.

Academic Background:

• Ph.D. East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
• M.A. Korean Literature, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
• B.A. (Honours) Japanese and Korean, University of London

Major Publications:

  • Dust and Other Stories by Yi T’aejun. Translated with an introduction by Janet Poole. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.
  • “The Remains of Colonial History.” In Clark W. Sorensen and Andrea Gevurtz Arai ed., Spaces of Possibility: In, Between, and Beyond Korea and Japan. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2016.
  • When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.
  • Yi T’aejun, Eastern Sentiments. Translated with an introduction by Janet Poole. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013 (paperback edition)

Courses:

• Korean Literary Translation Workshop
• Translation and Modernity
• The Global Bildungsroman: Narratives of Development, Time and Colonialism
• Aesthetics and Politics in 20th Century Korea
• Modernism and Colonial Korea

Professor Poole’s headshot is courtesy of Lisa Sakulensky.