This presentation will focus on modern Korean literature written during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945), and explore what scholars Bruce Fulton and Youngmin Kwon refer to as a “cacophony of voices” (Modern Korean Short Fiction, xii). The question here is whether such a variety of literary voices worked (and still work) as an advantage to Korean society or against it. As the nation underwent modernization, colonization and Westernization, what were the effects on its literature? Factions in modern Korea and failure to unify versus a diverse range of artistic stylizations that developed will be observed, as well as what traces of modern literature linger in today’s literature and Korean society. The presentation will also include why colonial Korean literature is important for contemporary scholars and writers—Diaspora Korean writers, native Korean writers, and translators—to pay attention to.
Grace H. Jung was born in Busan, South Korea and moved to Brooklyn, New York at age 5. She attended schools in New York and New Jersey and graduated from Pace University with a degree in English literature and philosophy. She decided to pursue Korean literature through the encouragement of New York poet and mentor Charles North. In the future, she plans to publish writings completed during her grant period and to pursue a graduate degree in East Asian literature with a concentration in Modern Korean literature and film. Her most recent publications will be featured in this year’s Fulbright Review and Infusion magazine.