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Introduction: Fictions About Women

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Chapter Summary

The early 1990s witnessed the emergence of a remarkable group of new women writers whose works soon became immensely popular in South Korea. Many wrote about the contradictions of living in a society that expects highly educated (and often financially independent) women to emulate some aspects of traditional ideals of femininity that seemed increasingly outdated. Korean women writers of the 1990s, as producers of new cultural meanings, thus engaged with existing gender discourses in an attempt to conceptualize or reconceptualise femininity. On the level of analysing the symbolic representations of the feminine, it is interesting to note that Luce Irigaray has also observed how the metaphysics that underlie both Far Eastern philosophies and those of the West are remarkably similar because both represent and function within what she refers to as 'elemental economies'.

Keywords: elemental economies; femininity; gender discourses; Luce Irigaray; South Korea; Western imaginary; women writers



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