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Petit-Bourgeois Literature Discourse and ‘Modenization’

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2017, 74(3), pp.195-221
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.74.3.201708.195
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : July 13, 2017
  • Accepted : July 26, 2017
  • Published : August 31, 2017

Jung-A Hwang 1

1한림대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to analyse the Petit-Bourgeois Literature Discourse presented in the “Citizen Literature vs. Petit-Bourgeois Literature Debate” of the late 1960s. What the discourse actually did with its rather peculiar concept of petit-bourgeois could be summed up as a literary modernization project. The discourse mostly focused on condemning pre-modern conventional thoughts and practices, while neglecting to criticize modernity itself. The space it created through linking different concepts of petit-bourgeois, individual, self-consciousness, and personality, corresponded to the characteristically modernist “inward turn”, but, at the same time, was oddly expanded to the point of cancelling out the significance of “outward reality.” Trivialism, an essential element of the discourse, also stressed the value of the trivial at the expense of political and historical realities. Drawing on the overemphasized autonomy of self and literature, the discourse sought to achieve a kind of compressed modernization. The major problem with the discourse lies not so much in its attempt of undertaking a certain modernization project per se, as in the fact that its version of modernization did not allow for the possibility of radically confronting and criticizing the modern.

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.