Three Interesting Critical Essays By Kim Hunyoung

Wandering around the intarwebs I came across this site (UNFORTUNATELY MR KIM SEEMS TO HAVE LEFT THE INTERNET) by Kim Hunyoung, who seems to have led quite an active life, both politically and in literature. He has written a great deal of critical prose, and three of his essays are reproduced on the site:

The Korean Novel in the Eighties
The Meaning of the City in Korean Literature
POETRY IN THE 1980s – A Booming Decade

Here’s a taste (from “The Meaning of the City in Korean Literature”) to give a sense of what he is all about:

If we understand the whole process of opening of the ports, modernization, and urbanization as one, connected sequence of the infiltration routine of the monopoly capitalism and evaluate the entire phenomenon from the nationalist perspective, viewing this process as directly conducive to the annihilation of nationalist consciousness, we are bound to arrive at a position critical of urban culture. It is the truth that even among our writers and poets who were not equipped with the knowledge of social science, the city failed to ever be recognized as the ideal setting for the national life, as we can see illustrated in many literary works after the modernization period. Kim So-wol, a leading modern poet of Korea, for instance, sings in “Night of Seoul”

They say streets are good in Seoul
They say nights are good in Seoul
There are red lights
There are blue lights
But in the hidden bottom of my heart
The blue light shines all by itself
The red light shines all by itself

This little fragment makes Kim sound stridently political, but he isn’t at all, this is just one part of his covering his theoretical bases. The rest of the essay is all about literature.

All three essays are worth reading, even if they take a bit of time to digest.