Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era

Imperatives of CultureImperatives of Culture: Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era, edited by Christopher P. Hanscom, Walter K. Lew, and Youngju Ryu, contains translations—many appearing for the first time in the English language—of major literary, critical, and historical essays from the colonial period (1910–1945) in Korea. Considered representative of the debates among and between Korean and Japanese thinkers of the colonial period, these texts shed light on relatively unexplored aspects of intellectual life and take part in current conversations around the nature of the colonial experience and its effects on post-liberation Korean society and culture.

Imperatives of Culture is a landmark in bringing important Korean texts from the colonial period into the English-speaking world. Intellectuals and writers who were central to debates over Korean identity and culture—which in the 1930s and 1940s the Japanese were trying to eradicate—illumine with insight and often brilliance the dilemmas of an ancient nation captured by a curiously ‘late’ (or late-coming) twentieth-century imperialism. These essays also cast their reflection down to the present, as divided Korea enters its seventh decade. This book rewards multiple readings and will be most useful in the classroom.” —Bruce Cumings, Chair, Department of History, University of Chicago

Korean Classics Library: Historical Materials
May 2013 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3821-8 / $45.00 (CLOTH)