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Selections from Yi Kwang-su's Early Writings, 1909-1922

Selections from Yi Kwang-su's Early Writings, 1909-1922 Selections f rom Yi Kwang-su’s Early Writi ngs, 1909-1922 by Ellie Choi h’unwŏn” Yi Kwang-su’s (1892-1950) prominence in “C modern Korean intellectual and literary history is beyond dispute, but the writer himself continues to be the subject of controversy and debate. Yi Kwang-su is triply famous, first for penning Mujŏng (e H Th eartless), 1917, remembered as modern Korea’s first mature novel; second, for being one of the student drafters of the February 8th Student Declaration of Independence which sparked the March 1st Movement; and third, for becoming a Japanese collaborator from 1939. Like many colonial intellectuals around the world at the turn of the twentieth century, Yi Kwang-su was educated in the imperial metropole and returned to his homeland to promote cultural and nationalist activities with intellectual ideas and advancements borrowed from the colonizer. The controversy surrounding Yi Kwang-su’s story is not necessarily exceptional, but illustrates the dic ffi ult situation of the colonial elite whose “location of culture” was the imperial metropole. It can be argued that Yi’s collaboration was not a betrayal so much as a succumbing to colonial desire, namely, the lure of capitalist modernity itself and the promise of full participation in a modern http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture University of Hawai'I Press

Selections from Yi Kwang-su's Early Writings, 1909-1922

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
ISSN
1939-6120
eISSN
1944-6500

Abstract

Selections f rom Yi Kwang-su’s Early Writi ngs, 1909-1922 by Ellie Choi h’unwŏn” Yi Kwang-su’s (1892-1950) prominence in “C modern Korean intellectual and literary history is beyond dispute, but the writer himself continues to be the subject of controversy and debate. Yi Kwang-su is triply famous, first for penning Mujŏng (e H Th eartless), 1917, remembered as modern Korea’s first mature novel; second, for being one of the student drafters of the February 8th Student Declaration of Independence which sparked the March 1st Movement; and third, for becoming a Japanese collaborator from 1939. Like many colonial intellectuals around the world at the turn of the twentieth century, Yi Kwang-su was educated in the imperial metropole and returned to his homeland to promote cultural and nationalist activities with intellectual ideas and advancements borrowed from the colonizer. The controversy surrounding Yi Kwang-su’s story is not necessarily exceptional, but illustrates the dic ffi ult situation of the colonial elite whose “location of culture” was the imperial metropole. It can be argued that Yi’s collaboration was not a betrayal so much as a succumbing to colonial desire, namely, the lure of capitalist modernity itself and the promise of full participation in a modern

Journal

Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & CultureUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Mar 23, 2011

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