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Kim Sa-ryang and German Literature

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2019, 76(3), pp.169-212
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.76.3.201908.169
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : July 24, 2019
  • Accepted : August 11, 2019
  • Published : August 31, 2019

Jang Moon-seok 1

1경희대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper argues about the relationship between the works of Kim Sa-ryang and the German Literature regarding the following three aspects; the literary criticism of Kim Sa-ryang and the German literature, his writings and the form of the Bildungsroman, and his praxis and the revolution. First, Kim Sa-ryang posited the identity of the literature of the colonial Chosun in the face of the crisis of the language of the colonial Chosun. While the literary scholars of Japan put Japan and Germany in the same position, Kim Sa-ryang dignosed the present stage of the literature of the colonial chosun by the analogy with the historical development of the German literature regarding a gap between the western and the non-western. He waited for the presentation of “Goethe of the colonial Chosun” considering the literature of the colonial Chosun at that time through the lends of German enlightenment. He expected the formation of the new identity of the Chosun literature by accepting the foreign literature, and a literary exchange between the literature of the colonial chosun and the Japanese literature and the world literature by the praxis of the translation. Kim Sa-ryang was concerned about the distance between the reality of East Asia and the form of the west through his writings. He expressed his discontentment with his novel to the Taiwanese writer Long Yingzong although he earned his fame as a writer in Tokyo when his work “Into the Light”(1939) was nominated for Akutagawa Prize. “Into the Light” was about the friendship and growth of a student in the context of a school as the institutional space and thmale-dominated society, which was simliar to the form of the late Bildungsroman including Demian of Hermann Karl Hesse earned a broad readership in Japan. “Into the Light” of Kim Sa-ryang was the representative novel of the modern literature in the non-West in terms of the form of the novel; its western form was in combination with the reality of the non-West. The Bildungsroman as a form of the novel was centered around the mobility and historical consciousness of western modern Bourgeois. However, Kim Sa-ryang was in the double bind as a non western-colonial writer. Given that, it was impossible for him to achieve the ideal of “Bildung”; the aim of the “Bildung” is to achieve maturity in harmony with one's self and society. Afterwards, Kim Sa-ryang explored the possibility of salvation from the religion and the Chosun or the past banished from the present during the wartime while he put an end to having a sense of consciousness of the lineal time in his work “Angel”(1942). Third, Kim Sa-ryang performed his literary act regarding the relationship between the literature and revolution. Kim Sa-ryang understood Heine as a writer who criticized Germany in his exile for love of his country. Even though he kept interested in the works of Heine, he could not fully elucidate the works of Heine because of the censorship. After escaping to Yenan in China in 1945, Kim Sa-ryang was able to reconsider the relationship between literature and revolution fundamentally. In Yenan he confronted the tradition of the folk literature in East Asia, and he discovered the possibility of literature whose subject was not the intellect but the folk. In Yenan, Kim Sa-ryang wrote his play, and his play is the representative work explores the possibility to deconstruct the western literary form with the reality of the non-West. The literary praxis of Kim Sa-ryang as the non-western writer who studied German literature in Tokyo Imperial University culminated in the East Asian Literature with a focus on the life of the folk. The topic of “Kim Sa-ryang and German Literature” leaves a further task of establishing a relationship between modernity of East Asia and Western literature.

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