Christianity in Kim Hyun-seung’s poetry

  • Hyub Lee Chosun University
  • Cheol-soo Kim Chosun University


This article attempts to analyze how Kim Hyun-seung’s thoughts about Christianity have changed throughout his poetic works. Considered to be a Puritan-like-figure, Kim Hyun-seung is regarded as the most representative Christian poet in Korea. His works, often written in a solemn mood, are characterized by prayer and devotion to God. In Autumn, the significant season for Kim, he gets immersed in religious contemplation. As a solely wandering bird in his works, the raven symbolizes his religious soul. However, Kim was skeptical about the religion during his middle period due to the limitations of Christianity. His frustration was accompanied by solid solitude with the loss of God, which is in opposition to Kierkegaardian solitude. After suffering from a crisis of death, he returned to Christianity with absolute faith in his final years. His oscillation between the religious faith and the recognition of reality reflects his persistent pursuit of religious ethics, which cannot be fully satiated.


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Author Biographies

Hyub Lee, Chosun University

Hyub Lee is currently an associate professor at the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at Chosun University, Korea. He is also working as an RB for National Research Foundation of Korea. He has taught at several universities, including Kyungnam University where he was an assistant professor at English Education department. He got MA in English at Warwick University, and PhD in English at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Besides articles on English literature, he has recently published articles on Oriental literature in international journals, especially on Lafcadio Hearn.

He can be reached at:

Cheol-soo Kim, Chosun University

Cheol-soo Kim is an associate professor at Chosun University, Korea. He teaches British and American Literature and Criticism at Chosun University Graduate School. As an ex-president of the James Joyce Society of Korea, his major research fields cover James Joyce, Mikhail Bakhtin, Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas, and Pre-Chin Dynasty philosophers, including Confucius, Mencius, and Laotzu. He wrote plenty of articles and a book, concerning the above fields of interest. The works include Reading English Literature along with Eastern Philosophy, and a book chapter in James Joyce and the Orient published in China. As the vice-president of Korea Association for Christian Scholarship, he has published plenty of articles concerning the Christian readings of modern English novels.

He can be reached at: