Azalea 15: Journal of Korean Literature and Culture
- About the Book
This volume of Azalea contains two special features and an images section: Contemporary Korean LGBTQ + Literature, Voices from Colonial Korea, and images by Kang Seung Lee.
A century’s worth of change looks quite remarkable in Korean literature. Today’s young Koreans cannot read the same newspapers read by their grandparents’ generation. In less than a hundred years, the national written language has shifted from Chinese characters to Korean hangul, then briefly to Japanese as enforced under colonial rule, and then to the modern Korean language that we know today. During this process, remarkable sociocultural transformations dominated daily life. Over the first half of the 20th century, Koreans endured enormous political shifts most notably marked by colonization, the Korean War, and the ensuing divide of the country into separate political nations. Along the way, Korean literature registered these upheavals and fluctuations.
Notably, the literature of totalizing grand narrative, which concerned itself with the trajectory of nation-building, persisted in Korea until the 1980s. Ever since the end of the military dictatorship and the establishment of a civil government in the 1990s, however, that literature began to shift its focus to the lives of women. Now, those long ignored and marginalized—including queer women, as well as other queer people such as those who are non-binary— have also begun to emerge more strongly as published authors, even as they have been increasingly centered as subjects of literary narratives. The ongoing impact of this inclusive, expansionary shift can be seen directly in AZALEA’s decision to focus on LGBTQ+ literature for its fifteenth issue.
- About the Author(s)
Young-Jun Lee, Editor