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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.64, No.3, 347 ~ 361, 2018
The Formation of Korean-ness and the Advent of the Split-Consciousness: Embracing Multiple Realities in Yeom Sangseop’s Mansejeon
Steven D. Capener
It is ironic but not coincidental that the loss of Korean sovereignty to Japan roughly paralleled the formation of the idea of Korean ethnic identity. The coalescence of the content of this heretofore amorphous notion of a “pure” and transcendental (in the class sense) ethnic essence was, again ironically, the result both of ideologies taken from (or given by) Japan and resistance to Japanese encroachment. What resulted was the birth of a hybrid (sub) consciousness that was able to accommodate disparate, or even contradictory, realities simultaneously without any sense of contradiction (Christian and shaman for example). If, as Kim Chul has asserted, the colonial period was the most impactful in forming today’s Korean society and “giving birth” to today’s Korean, it becomes easy to imagine how this formation process included elements of Japanese and western culture. This meant that there was going to be an inevitable cognitive dissonance when these influences collided with the imperatives of ethnic nationalism which became the touchstone for a common Korean identity (North and South). This paper attempts to show how this split-consciousness was manifested in Yeom Sang seop’s Manse jeon with the aim of identifying how it affects discourses related to nationalism and identity.
Key Words
Korean-ness, collaboration, resistance, hybridity, split-consciousness
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