Korea Journal vol 27- n.1 (2007 spring)

This issue features the special topic: “A Postmodern Turn in Korean Literature.” It also includes four research papers and two book reviews.

1. A Postmodern Turn in Korean Literature

No one doubts that Korean literature currently finds itself in a new environment. Taking into consideration that literature has lost the political and cultural power it exercised in the past, it can be said that Korean literature is facing a kind of crisis. However, the birth of a new, younger generation of writers and their new, experimental literary styles has undeniably given a new stimulus to Korean literature. With this in mind, the spring 2007 issue of the Korea Journal features five papers that address the topic of “The Postmodern Turn in Korean Literature,” as a response to the question of where Korean literature is headed in the 21st century. Choi Won-shik offers a historical analysis of modern Korean literature, focusing on the relationship between realism and modernism, and stresses the need to return to the literary work. Lee Kwang Ho examines the characteristics of Korean literature in the 2000s. According to Lee, these works define a new literary landscape by freeing themselves from the burden of historical memory. Lee Hye Ryoung focuses on the transnational imagination and the decline of masculine subjectivity in her keen investigation of recent Korean novels. Shim Jinkyung challenges stereotyped perceptions of gender in order to highlight gender plurality through an analysis of works by young writers. Finally, based on his clear understanding of Karatani Kojin’s thesis of the end of modern literature, Hwang Jongyon critically addresses the Korean literary world’s adherence to modernism. (Authors and titles are as follows.)

Choi Won-shik (InhaUniv.) / Intercommunication between “Realism” and “Modernism”: A Return to the Literary Work

Lee Kwang Ho (Seoul Institute of the Arts) / Cultural Hybridity in Contemporary Korean Literature

Lee Hye Ryoung (SungkyunkwanUniv.) / The Transnational Imagination and Historical Geography of 21st Century Korean Novels

Shim Jinkyung (Sunggonghoe Univ.) / The Past and Present of Women’s Literature

Hwang Jongyon (Dongguk Univ.) / After the Apocalypse of Literature: A Critique of Karatani Kojin’s Thesis of the End of Modern Literature

2. Articles

In addition, the spring issue of the Korea Journal includes four articles that contribute to a new understanding of relevant issues. Lee Seung-Hwan criticizes Korean philosophy as being a mere vehicle for the import and translation of Western theories, while Ku In Mo examines how Korean intellectuals came to adopt the concept of “culture” during the colonial period. Yun Ji-Whan reviews the process of Korean labor market reform to highlight the unique characteristics of “counterbalanced marketization” in a comparison of the Japanese and Taiwanese cases. Finally, Henrik Sørensen offers a brief introduction to trends in the study of Korean Buddhism in Europe over the past forty years. (Authors and titles are as follows.)

Lee Seung-Hwan (Korea University) / “Doing Philosophy” on the Periphery

Ku In Mo (Dongguk Univ.) / “Culture” as an Imported Concept and “Korea” as a Nation-State

Yun Ji-Whan (UC Berkeley)/ Counterbalanced Marketization: The Korean Way of Labor Market Reregulation and its Welfare Reform in a Comparative Perspective

Henrik H. Sørensen (Seminar for Buddhist Studies) / Trends in the Study of Korean Buddhism in Europe 1968-2006

3. Book Reviews

Han Suk-Jung (Dong-A Univ.) / A Big Challenge in the Manchurian Scene (Hyon Ok Park, Two Dreams in One Bed: Empire, Social Life, and the Origins of the North Korean Revolution in Manchuria)

Yang Hyunah (Seoul National Univ.) / Engendering South Korea’s Militarized Modernity (Seungsook Moon, Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea).


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