The title, "Phoenix in a Jade Bowl," is the literal translation of my given name Bongwan, which consists of two Chinese characters, "bong," a phoenix, and "wan," a jade bowl. My father gave me an atypical name for a girl because he believed that a typical girl's name can prejudice a child from an early age. He wanted me to convince myself that I must not feel limited as a female and be strong enough to rise from the ashes like a phoenix (bong), a legendary bird, but at the same time, be grounded (wan) in a solid jade bowl.
The book attempts to capture the rapidly disappearing old Korea, before the "Miracle on the Han," a phenomenal economic development. As poor and economically underdeveloped as it was, the old Korea had its charm: multi-generational household of my grand parents, their sprawling traditional house, and the delicately balanced husband-wife relationship of my parents. But the Korea of my childhood also endured unbearable pain of Japanese colonialism, the division of the land along the 38th parallel and chaos and turmoil following the end of WWII, the another foreign rule of the American Military Government, the establishment of separate governments in the north and south of the parallel, the Korean War, and the starvation bordering refugee life during and after the war.
All during these times, I, Bongwan, Phoenix-in-a-Jade-Bowl, grew up and matured, at first unaware of stormy world outside my parents' house, experienced self-awareness, and discovered the wider world. It is the story of a young girl's coming of age in a small, unknown, underdeveloped, unsettled Asian country of Korea and her drive to go beyond the boundaries of her natal home and country.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.37(d)|
About the Author
Retired as Distinguished Professor of Korean history from Georgetown University. Taught for 38 years on the university level in the United States. Received higher education in the U.S., an B.A. in American history from Barnard College, an M.A. in Russian and European intellectual history from Georgetown, and a Ph.D. in East Asian history from the U of Chicago. Has authored/co-authored/edited books on Jesuit Entry to China, East Asian relations, Comfort Women of WWII, American Military Government in Korea, Korean Embassy in America. Has contributed to encyclopedias, Encyclopedia Britanica, Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, World Book Encyclopedia, Compton's Enclopedia, etc. Has published articles in scholarly journals, the Journal of Asian Studies, American Historical Review, International History Review.
Currently working on 2 historical novels, MURDER IN THE PALACE: Life and Death of Empress Myongsong of Korea and LONGING FOR MOTHER: Three Lives Caught between Korea and Japan.