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Korean Women’s Literature And Representations Of Femininity

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Chapter Summary

The way femininity was represented in twentieth century Korean women's fiction is very descriptive of how difficult it is to imagine alternatives to existing phallocentric ideas about femininity. The liberation from the Japanese occupation in 1945 promised a new start for the Korean nation, but the subsequent outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 put an end to all such hopes. In Korea, as gender binaries within the discourse of national identity in a divided country assumed an ever greater importance, women's literature of the 1950s and 1960s never had a chance to develop into a discourse that could have challenged the male-centred discourses that informed the existing ideas about femininity. The number of literary women was steadily growing, and the 1970s and 1980s witnessed an influx of a whole new generation of talented women writers who were well educated and highly perceptive of present social issues.

Keywords: femininity; Korea; twentieth century Korean women's fiction; women writers; women's literature



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