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Wandering Bodies,Wondering Minds – the Body, Territory and National Identity in Pak T’aewŏn, Ch’oe Inhun and Chu Insŏk’s Stories about Kubo

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Chapter Summary

The Korean literary tradition known as 'stories about Kubo' started in 1934, with the publication of a medium-length story by Pak T'aewon entitled A day in the life of Kubo, the novelist in Chosǒn Central News. As the title may suggest, the work of Pak T'aewŏn presents one day in the life of a young Korean intellectual named Kubo, who lives in Kyongsong during the period of Japanese colonization. The original story became an inspiration for Ch'oe Inhun and Chu Insŏk, who also wrote stories about a novelist Kubo. While Pak T'aewŏn's Kubo reflects the psychological search for Korean identity during his stroll, the state of his physical well-being symbolizes his identity as a colonized Korean. Chu Insŏk's novel presents Kubo's life as the writer living in Seoul. Being unable to adjust to the post-industrial era, Kubo constantly reflects on his personal past and the history of his nation.

Keywords: Ch'oe Inhun; Chu Insŏk; Korean identity; Kubo; Kyongsong; Pak T'aewŏn; Seoul



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