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Twenty-Volume Complete Works of “Lupin” Translated by Seong Gwi-soo

Twenty-Volume Complete Works of “Lupin” Translated by Seong Gwi-soo

Posted December. 12, 2003 23:34,   


“A black silk hat, a mantle, and a monocle: Lupin appears in this outfit only in one scene in the first volume of ‘Strange Traveler.’ He always wears a checkered bright-colored hat. He is a romantic that one can see in a French movie set in the 1900s.”

Translator Seong Gwi-soo, 42, has translated the 20-volume “Complete Works of Aresene Lupin” all on his own and published them through Kachi Publishing. All 23 works, 26,636 pages of 200-letter manuscript papers, 652 translator’s notes, 430 question and answer sessions between the readers and the translator through the publishing company’s website….

To Seong, translating a series of one’s complete works can only be one translator’s responsibility, especially when it is a work of literature.

“A translator is the most direct medium that connects the creator and the readers together. He or she has to have a full understanding of the author’s works to the level comparable to the author’s. It is more so for the series of ‘Lupin’ because the author Maurice Leblanc has worked on it for 30 years and because they are all closely connected.”

Seong, who emphasizes the importance of a translator, went through all the related websites from January 2002 until this October while translating the works. This was to show the complete details of the 1900s, the novel’s background, to the readers. If the story included a car in it, he inserted a picture of a car in those days and placed a map in the book if the phrase “Lupin has passed by a certain region” is written.

“I just hope the readers of today can enjoy Lupin as people have done during that time. If I left some parts, that cannot be easily understood from our reality, incomplete, it is a loss to both the translator and the readers.”

His passion achieved yet another goal. He fully restored “Billions of Dollars of Arsene Lupin” which has already been forgotten in France. The author had published the work in a magazine called L’Auto for about one month, two years before his death, but when it was published as a separate book, one episode in the middle was removed due to an editing mistake, thus leaving the book incomplete.

Seong has obtained the book which was published in 1941 after searching all the used bookstores in France over the internet. He also received help from a French Lupin scholar who had worked in L’Auto and was able to acquire the lost episode.

“The Lupin scholar has said that Korea is the first and only country to publish a complete series of Lupin.”

Reporter Cho Lee-young, lycho@donga.com