Reading national heroes from fantasy : Shin Chae-ho's "The Dream Heaven"
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- Reading national heroes from fantasy : Shin Chae-ho's "The Dream Heaven"
- Lee, Jae-Yon
- Shin Chae-ho; Social Darwinism; Religious nationalism; Collective identity; Metahistory; New People(shin min)
- Issue Date
- THE REVIEW OF KOREAN STUDIES, v.7, no.1, pp.165 - 186
- Up to the present, the writings of Shin Chae-ho (1880-1936) have been evaluated by dualism. His historical writings, often recognized as the symbol of national identity and the spirit of independence, have been hailed for their contribution to the anti-Japanese movement during the colonial period (1910-1945), whereas his literary works received aesthetically low appreciation due to their political aspects, that is, their use of narrative as a tool for promoting national identity. This dualism, however, provides an important reason for revisiting Shin's literary writings; they contain important clues to understanding his historical perspectives, which are singular in the formation of religious and spiritual nationalism before and during the colonial period. Beyond a dichotomy of literature and history, this paper aims to examine the comprehensive structure between narrative and ideology where the discourse of the people forms that of national characteristics. Through a close reading of Shin's fiction, "The Dream Heaven" (Kkum Haneul), I will explore the images of national heroes in their connection with the historical formation of the concept of new people in the discourse of the invented tradition.
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