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“Engineering Fictions”: Constructions of Everyday Life in Early Modern Korean Literature, 1910-1916

“Engineering Fictions”: Constructions of Everyday Life in Early Modern Korean Literature, 1910-1916
1 Devonshire Place, Room 108
Time: Jan 20th, 2:00 pm End: Jan 20th, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: Women/Gender, Visual Studies (UTM), Information, Faculty of, East Asian Studies (FAS), Diaspora/Transnational, Critical Theory, Criminology, Comparative Literature (FAS), Communications, Cinema, Art (FAS), 2000-, 1950-2000, 1900-1950
Lecture by Jooyeon Rhee, Asian Institute

The Asian Institute is pleased to present

Jooyeon Rhee, Visiting Scholar

“Engineering Fictions”: Constructions of Everyday Life in Early Modern Korean Literature, 1910-1916

This lecture examines the ways in which social reality was imagined in early modern Korean literature. It focuses on two literary genres, sinsosǒl (the New Novel) and pǒnan sosǒl (adapted novel), which were serialized mainly in Maeil sinbo (The Daily News) between 1910 and 1916. The literary value of these genres has not been fully explored in the study of modern Korean literature, largely due to the didactic themes prevalent in these works – such as, notably, kǒwnsǒn chingak (rewarding the good and punishing the evil). Such subject matter is considered much less “modern” than that of fictions produced after Yi Kwangsu’s The Heartless (1917). This lecture, however, tries to illuminate the process of constructing “reality” in the works of these genres through incorporating various signs of social progress that contributed to readers’ imaginations of “modern” ways of life. This process cannot be explained separately from its close relationship with the management and editorial direction of Maeil sinbo, where fictions were serialized, and from authorship and readership, all of which were mutually influencing each other in the creation and perception of constructed images. I pay close attention to these intersecting elements to elucidate the image-making process while simultaneously analyzing creative fictions by Yi Injik, Yi Haejo, and An Kuksǒn, as well as Japanese novels, in particular Konjiki yasha (The Gold Demon by Ozaki Kōyō), Hototogisu (The Cuckoo by Tokutomi Roka), and Sutekobune (Abandoned Boat by Kuroiwa Ruiko), translated by Cho Chunghwan and Yi Sanghyǒp.

Jooyeon Rhee received her Ph.D from the Department of Humanities at York University in 2011. Her Ph.D dissertation investigated representations of gender in popular cultural productions such as serial fictions in newspapers, cinema novels, postcards, and photographs produced between the mid-1900s and the late 1920s. Currently, she is a visiting scholar at the Asian Institute where she is conducting her research focusing on the relationship between crime and gender in the literature and film of colonial Korea. Jooyeon’s translations of essays and short stories by Korean and Japanese writers such as Hasumi Shigehiko, Tatematsu Wahei, Yi Kwangsu, and Hara Kenya have been published for English-speaking audiences. Her published articles include “Na Un Kyu and the Making of Nationalistic Films in South and North Korea” (Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, 2009) and “Manifestation of ‘Japanese Spirit’ in Wartime Japan: Focusing on Images of Women in Films, The New Earth and the Suicide Troops of the Watchtower” (The Journal of the International Association of Korean Literary and Cultural Studies, 2008).

This lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  Please click here to register.

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