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Changes of Sentience in Korean Literature through SF - From a subject of authenticity to sentient beings

  • Journal of Popular Narrative
  • 2024, 30(1), pp.11-46
  • DOI : 10.18856/jpn.2024.30.1.001
  • Publisher : The Association of Popular Narrative
  • Research Area : Interdisciplinary Studies > Interdisciplinary Research
  • Received : January 12, 2024
  • Accepted : February 19, 2024
  • Published : February 28, 2024

Namkyung Yeon 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Currently, Korean literature is experiencing a success through the combination of science fiction and literary literature. Accordingly, in terms of sentience, this study traces the changing aspects of subjectivity through Seung-ok Kim's 1960s SF, Djuna's 1990s SF, and Seon-ran Cheon's 2020s SF. Seung-ok Kim announced the birth of the modern subject in Korean literature through the ‘revolution of sensibility,’ and the 4.19 generation signifies the individuals who appear in their literature as ‘subjects of authenticity.’ Based on this, his “One Day of the Dπ9 Reporter, 50 Years Later”(1970) has a SF prediction of technological development, but the othering of women and anthropocentrism remain the same. The narrative, dominated by anxiety over the loss of human(male) identity, cannot imagine social innovation even though it is science fiction. Djuna's SF in the 1990s was completely unrelated to literary literature that focused only on the inheritance of authenticity, so paradoxically, it was important in expanding the literary field of the 1990s. Djuna, who established Korean SF as genre literature in cyberspace, not only deconstructs the subject of liberal humanism by being indifferent to the subject itself, but is also characterized by an anti-humanist worldview that extremely abhors anthropocentrism. As a result, Djuna's SF secures a feminist perspective by dismantling the authenticity regime centered on male intellectuals and seeking the outside of modern humanism, without directly attacking patriarchy or raising women's issues. Meanwhile, if Seung-ok Kim in the 1960s brought about a ‘revolution of sensitivity’ through the discovery of the individual and the construction of his own world, in the 2020s, Seon-ran Cheon presents ‘post-sensitivity’ through a humanoid Collie that becomes happy by feeling the happiness of others. In A Thousand Blues(2020), she goes beyond anthropocentrism and confirms that both humans and machines are sentient beings, even if their sense methods are different. In this way, the ‘post-sensibility’ shown in recent Korean SF expands to the characteristics of all sensing entities, breaking away from the subject of authenticity that secured subjectivity by othering the object and distinguishing it from the self. And speculative feminism, where science fiction, general fiction, and feminism intersect, illustrates the possibility of world change through science and technology.

Citation status

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