David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Human Studies 24 (1-2):149-170 (2001)
This paper deals with the sudden change in the mood, themes and style of Korean literature in the 1990s, which was brought on by the inauguration of the first civilian government in three decades and the lifting of the oppressive shadow of military dictatorship. Under military dictatorship, serious Korean writers all felt obligated to be the conscience of the nation, so the emphasis of their works tended to be on social and political injustice and the lives of the exploited workers or helpless and powerless citizens. Their tone, therefore, was that of harsh protest. However, with the demise of military dictatorship, Korean writers felt free to focus on personal relationships and the inner psyche. Shin Kyoung-suuk and Choi Yoon are just two among the many new talents who emerged in the Korean literary scene since the end of the 1980s. They awakened the deep-seated repression of the Korean psyche and fueled the exuberance of psychic liberation.
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