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Oh Jang Hwan’s Metanoia: Preparatory Review on the History of the Intellectualism from 1930s through 1940s

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2019, 76(3), pp.369-401
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.76.3.201908.369
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : June 19, 2019
  • Accepted : August 11, 2019
  • Published : August 31, 2019

Igkyun Kim 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Aestheticism, which distinguished art from everyday praxis, helped realize Culturalism in modern literature. The early works of the Decadent poet Oh Jang Hwan was closely connected to this Culturalism-based Aestheticism. In the first half of the 1940s, Oh was confronted with the task of criticizing. Culturalism through the ideas of Showa Culturalism, the main charge of Korean intellectualism at the time. By then Showa Culturalism had regained its influence through its Marxist criticism on Daisho Culturalism, even as Marxism itself was on the wane. However, it fell into the contradiction of criticizing Culturalism while simultaneously promoting it, and the contradictory demands forced intellectuals of the era into a double bind. For superficial devotees of Culturalism, this double bind served as a convenient cover for their intellectual compromise and exempted them from self-criticism. But Oh, who adhered strictly to both sides of the contradicting demands, was able to achieve metanoia through the process. This thesis identifies the link between the Culturalism of mainstream poetry in 1930s colonial Joseon and the leftist praxis of Culturalism in post-liberation Korea through Oh’s body of work.

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