장영희 교수님을 추모하며

[2019년 6월 업데이트]
‘당신과 함께라면 언제라도 봄’ (샘터) – 장영희 교수 10주기 추모 에세이집 사진 추가
. 아래는 2009년 5월 작성한 글과 기사.

영문과 수업은 X관에서 있었고 과사무실과 교수연구실도 모두 X관 1층에 있었다. 가끔 다른 교수님 방을 찾아가서 상당하고 나오거나 하면 장영희 교수님이 목발을 이용해 교실로 가기 위에 방에서 나오는 모습을 보곤 했다.

미국 교환학생 시절 장영희 교수님이 가르치시는 수업을 듣는 통에 불행하게도 교수님의 수업은 직접 듣지 못했지만 항상 지나치면서 뵙던 분이었고, 이후 처음 들어간 직장인 코리아타임스에 Crazy Quilt라는 영어에세이를 연재하고 계셔서 회사에서 나름 멋진 글을 쓰시는 분이 있는 학교와 과를 나왔다는 자부심을 느꼈었다.

5월 7일 목요일 간만에 영문과 동기 친구들과 저녁자리를 가졌을때 현재 우리학교 영문과 교수로 있는 친구가 장영희 교수님 건강이 악화되었다고 해서 모두 걱정을 했다. 그리고 이틀 뒤 토요일 오후에 교수님이 돌아가셨다는 문자를 받았다.

일요일 출근해서 부고 기사를 쓰는 내내 마음이 아팠다. 설마 내가 교수님 부고 기사를 쓰게 될 줄이야. 그동안 수많은 사람들에게 희망과 용기를 주신 교수님이 하늘나라에서는 고통 없이 항상 편안하시기를 빈다.

Renowned English professor dies of cancer

By Yang Sung-jin

Chang Young-hee, a renowned columnist and English literature professor, died on Saturday after battling cancer. She was 56.

Chang, professor of English literature at Sogang University, has a huge following in Korea due to her insightful essays and newspaper columns that reflect her deep affection toward humanity and an unwavering spirit of hope, defying her physical handicap and debilitating illness.

In early childhood, polio left her unable to use her legs, but she went on to become a distinguished scholar of English literature and then a writer whose heartwarming columns inspired millions of readers.

Chang studied English literature at Sogang University in Seoul and received her doctorate from New York State University in 1985.
While teaching American literature and translation at Sogang, she began to write essays and newspaper columns, many of which were based on affectionate observations about her daily life.

Her teaching career was abruptly halted in 2001 when she was diagnosed with breast career. She recovered and went back to her students.
However, another setback hit her in 2004. Diagnosed with cancer of the spinal cord, she made every effort to get back to her students, including brutal chemotherapy sessions.

In March 2005, Chang was finally allowed to return to Sogang. Despite her drastically weakened health, she wrote columns, published books and taught her students, while continuing to take chemotherapy.

But she was forced to stop teaching last year, when the cancer spread to her liver.

Chang, the first daughter of the late Dr. Chang Wang-rok, a prominent English literature scholar, published a dozen books, including best-selling essay collections such as “Walking Through the Forest of Literature,” “Birthday” and “Blessing.”

Her last work, “Miracle I Lived, Miracle I Will Live,” was published yesterday. In her fifth essay collection, she was as hopeful and optimistic as ever: “The three years I have survived might be nothing but a miracle. I was often heart-broken about the endless pain, but in retrospect I have lived my life faithfully and eventually overcome those pains. And with the strength I gained from this experience, I hope I will make another miracle.”

Chang sent her final manuscript to her publisher in late March and reviewed her draft in hospital through April, but she had lost consciousness by the time it was printed on Friday.

Published on The Korea Herald on May 11, 2009