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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.64, No.4, 617 ~ 629, 2018
Literature as a Strange Body: Modernity, Literariness and Dislocation
Alex Taek-gwang Lee
The aim of this essay is to discuss the relationship between Korean literature and Korean intellectual scenes. Since its first introduction to the local context, literature as a genre has served as a field in which colonial and post-colonial intellectuals have attempted to win the accreditation of Western enlightenment. Literature has been regarded as a crucial instrument of liberal arts and education in Korea. Literature has functioned as a social movement in Korea since its inception. During the colonial period, radical intellectuals and literary writers published essays and articles in literary journals. This status as a social movement is still a distinctive characteristic of Korean literature. From the outset, Korean literature has functioned as an enlightenment project for cultural development. As such, Korean literature retains a political meaning of “literariness,” which reshuffles the hierarchy of the sensible and creates novelty against given aesthetic regimes. As a result, in the process these regimes are thereby de-purified of their status as purely aesthetic movements; their perspectives thereby come into contact with other discourses and practices outside the art world. This essay argues that as a genre, Korean literature always functions as “world literature” in Korean intellectual scenes.
Key Words
Enlightenment, Sartre, anti-communism, world literature, postmodernism
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