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Chang Hyŏkchu and the Short Twentieth Century

Chang Hyŏkchu and the Short Twentieth Century

(p.244) 11 Chang Hyŏkchu and the Short Twentieth Century
The Affect of Difference
John Whittier Treat
University of Hawai'i Press

Fredric Jameson reassured us long ago that ours is a time of the “waning of affect,” since our postmodern age has already dispensed with the “autonomous bourgeois monad.” But in fact we continue to find affect everywhere, if perhaps only as a lingering historical aura. A case in point is the life and writings of Chang Hyŏkchu (1905-97), a Korean who halfway through his life took Japanese citizenship. But that second half mattered little. Chang’s career was essentially coterminous with the Japanese imperial interregnum on the Korean peninsula, lasting from the imposition of the Protectorate in the year of his birth until the defeat of Japan by the Allies on August 15, 1945. He was prolific after the war, as he was before and during it, but his readers would be as absent as the retired utopian fantasy of an East Asia homogenized under Japanese rule.

Keywords:   Chang Hyŏkchu, assimilation, Japanese Protectorate, colonial literature, citizenship, waning of affect

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