Identity revised – feminism in Pak Wan-sŏ’s prose Cover Image
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Tożsamość zrewidowana – feminizm prozy Pak Wan-sŏ
Identity revised – feminism in Pak Wan-sŏ’s prose

Author(s): Ewa Rynarzewska
Subject(s): Cultural history, Studies of Literature, Other Language Literature, Philology
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: Pak Wan-sŏ; Korean literature; Contemporary Korean prose; Feminism; Image of woman; Confucianism; Patriarchy
Summary/Abstract: Pak Wan-sŏ’s work constitutes a certain phenomenon in modern Korean literature. Her abundant and very original literary output, which is mostly dedicated to the experiences of Korean women, became an inspiration for female writers of younger generations and started a new and unusual approach to shaping the image of women. Literary portraits made by Pak Wan-sŏ were enriched with an incredible acuteness of observation and deep understanding, empathy and even contained some humorous elements. Pak Wan-sŏ did not shy away from presenting the drastic, both ethically and morally, entanglements of female characters, which in a postwar Korea, was controversial and ordered not to be mentioned. Presenting these entanglements exposed Pak Wan-sŏ to ostracism from the critics and aversion by the readers. Earlier than any other writer, she noticed and understood that the literary portraits of women, which were copied on the pages of many classical and modern works, were nothing more than a cultural product – a fictional image, which only partially presented the real image of Korean women. In her work Pak Wan-sŏ pursued to smash this artificial, in her opinion, cultural construct and create a female character that could encompass the complexity of the female psyche. At the same time, she presented an antithesis of Confucian stereotypes. Moreover, in her literary output Pak Wan-sŏ traced and revealed some of the negative aspects of patriarchal culture and the ways of discriminating women. The main objective of this article is to present Pak Wan-sŏ’s prose from the standpoint of revisionism that defi ned her identity and made her an icon of feminism in Korean modern literature.

  • Page Range: 223-265
  • Page Count: 43
  • Publication Year: 2019
  • Language: Polish