3651 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089

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Thursday, February 29, 2024 | 11:00AM - 12:20PM | ZHS 252 | RSVP

This talk by Kevin Shadel, Assistant Professor in East Asian Languages & Culture at UC Berkeley, will survey the accelerated reception of the European avant-garde by Korean poets in the 1920s and 1930s. Prof. Shadel proposes that Korean modernist poetry was constituted by the asynchronous amalgamation of transplanted literary trends in step with its combined and uneven socioeconomic development under Japanese colonial rule. As Korea began to import modern literary styles and forms from Western Europe through Japanese mediation, Korean writers and intellectuals took to questioning their position within a Eurocentric developmental chronology and status on the global literary stage. Perceiving themselves to be latecomers, Korean poets were nevertheless able, thanks to a certain “privilege” accompanying historical backwardness, to simultaneously select and combine a variety of modernist techniques so as to compose highly original and idiosyncratic works in both the Korean and Japanese languages, thereby distilling the complex and radically disjunctive spatiotemporal coordinates of their multivalent present in innovative, future-oriented compositions. In so doing, as this talk proposes, luminaries such as Kim Ki-rim, O Chang-hwan, and KimKwang-kyun heeded the modernist injunction to “make it new” while at the same time revealingthe fact that for the colonial periphery, lateness itself was its timeliness.


This event is presented by the department of East Asian Languages and Culture and co-sponsored by the East Asian Studies CenterShinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, and Korean Heritage Library

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  • Liam Karl

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