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History of Normal People That Flung Open Curtains

Posted March. 09, 2002 09:46,   


History of Privacy (third book among a total of 5 books).

Edited by Paul Ben, etc.

Translated by Ju Myeong-chul, etc.

800 pages in each book, 43,000won per book, New Wave.

`Privacy` is always behind public life in oriental society which considers `public before private` as important.

It is an area that should be given up for the sake of nation and brethrens, after all, it was considered to be dreary area and should be hidden so that it can`t be shown up.

Private life, somehow, is the area of women.

Men who are hero in real world should, of course, talk about politics and development, therefore women who are always free takes the area of `chat`, which they do just for spending time.

However, is it really so?

`History of Privacy`, history series published by `cheyou`, famous publisher in France, in 1985, breaks prejudice known as nothing and secret, given by word called privacy.

In advance, privacy helps us to realize that it itself is, frankly, melted area in the life of human being and we can newly prospect human being and history, only in the range of privacy.

Indeed, is there any no private thing in the life of human being?

Isn`t the range of privacy itself, living, dying, loving and desiring, comprises life?

`History of privacy` is not a story of palaces, politics or dynasty.

As the name suggests, it is the history about private life of common people from old-Greek-Roman times to illuminism times in 19th century

If I say like this, readers who are interested in predicative style of history, might be reminded of epigones of microscopic history book by Annal school, which is being poured like flood recently.

As it is well known, microscopic history is research style of history not by measuring way of kings and chronology but by catching concrete lifestyle of human beings who lived at that moment.

For example, it is like describing not the position of Napoleon but the stand position of soldiers in a passage of Waterloo war.

Supposing that microscopic history differs in a way of perceiving history, `history of privacy` differs in the lens itself.

Let us see subtitles of old Rome part.

`From womb of mother to death`, `marriage`, ` work and leisure`, and `enjoying and immoderation`……

Subtitles of fourth book that described French revolution to the First World War are `parents and children`, `marriage and family`, `relative relationship`,` buildings in rich town`, and `conflicts style and chain`……

It is like above.

Seeing only titles, we can`t imagine which times is it taking about.

This book describes history that deals mainly with matters related to joy, anger, sorrow, and pleasure and matters related to life and death, which human being bears many a times.

This is the reason that it takes historic materials such as diary written on the skin of lamb, messages, letters and private images carved on house stone, observing men and women in each times, their thoughts and feelings, attitudes convention of life, traces and symbols.

How on earth did such a style appear?

It started due to affliction of French elites who suffered political confusion in 1970s’.

The nihility and intellectual wandering, who were accustomed to `ism` and huge discourses, finally led to interior reflection like `what is human being` and it connected to inquiry towards human beings in past history.

The reason why we began to afflict individual and ourselves since 1990s`,who lived under keywords like `politics`, `brethrens`, `nation` in modern times is same as above.

It is the very ourselves who lacked reflection of life and human being, though we used to analyze dictatorship and democracy.

Why this book sold out up to 200,000 copies in France, 16 years ago, and became super best seller and was translated in 14 languages, is based on the above and has become significant for us.

Above all else, only an exclamation that comes into my mind was, `how is life so different as well as same? `.

Thus it causes dangerous doubtfulness that origin of pain, which hold us, is, probably, prejudice and obsession, which was created by those times and system.

For example, according to this book, slaves in the ancient times were not unfortunate people that we used to consider.

If owner gets angry or cruel to slaves, the owner was evaluated as immoral and used to incur material losses.

Relationship between slaves and owner was not that of ruler and ruled but one bargaining relationship which is compatible to both interests.

Also, 19th century which is known for creating Bourgeois class, is, infact, the century in which unsound(?) people like homosexuals and Bohemian Dandy appeared as well as inquiry into dark world of human being`s interior began.

Then was there really evolution of human`s history and happiness?

Were ancient people more unfortunate than now? No they were happier.

As they had less people to meet and less work to do, they had less choices, confusion and wandering.

There was no inquiry for existence such as, who are we? What am I supposed to do?

These questions of life are modern inquiry and from Christianity answers, authors explain.

Ancient people who lived in loose system and administration were more free and faithful on their desires than present people.

21st century is a century of fact, and hypocrites.

Even though people talk about maximization of personal desires and protection of privacy, however, if they want, they can turn other people desires round their fingers and can watch their each behavior for 24 hours.

Ancient people, who were known for having pressurized desires, were the ones who got protection of privacy and were free.

Such envy finally fills in endless tolerance to human behavior who lives today and gives freedom of life.

It makes life feel more plentiful and adds variety and light.

Philip Aries and Jorzu Duvi, who led publication work of this book and demolished their nationality and major field, composed `dream team` that comprised 40 masters in French intellectual field and completed it in a span of 10 years.

It is said that it took 5 years for domestic publisher to translate and publish it.

Vast learning book that contains 800 pages in each book makes readers forget boredom by close illustration and speedy literary style, which is followed by evaluation of `brilliant festival for life`.

And, this is may be due to meritorious service of those who created books.

Mun-Myung Huh angelhuh@donga.com