Feb.12 Presentation: Jae-Yon Lee “Criticism in the Making”

Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop presents: 

 Criticism in the Making: The Co-Emergence of the Social and the Literary

in Kaebyŏk (The opening of the world, 1920-26)

(Please click here to read the paper)

Jae-Yon Lee

(PhD Candidate, EALC)

 With a Response Offered by

Sei-Jin Chang

(Visiting Scholar, University of Chicago) 


February 12 (Friday) 

3:00-5:00 p.m.

Judd Hall 313

5835 South Kimbark Avenue

Chicago, IL 60637


My third chapter investigates the structure, as well as the historical structuring of, literary criticism through the analyses of a general-interest magazine, Kaebyŏk (The opening of the world, 1920-26). Published by the nascent religious sect, Chŏndogyŏ (Heavenly way), it also carried many texts on Marxism, reports on social affairs and literary works alongside religious essays. While considering criticism as the main mode of writing which interrelated the co-emergence of the social and the literary in the magazine, I pursue three projects. The first is to trace the trajectories of criticism where its subcategories of a social critique, a literary treatise, and practical criticism arose and interacted together in three historical phases. Secondly, I investigate what contributed to the dynamic interrelation of the three kinds of criticism through revealing how the magazine’s key contributors, such as the Chŏndogyo theorist Yi Tonhwa (1884-?) and Marxist commentators Kim Kijin (1903-1985) and Pak Yŏnghŭi (1901-?), struggled together to find a vision of society as a whole.

A constellation of critical insights they collectively endeavored to construct, which I call “the base of criticism,” played a substantive role in defining what comprised the literary in the magazine. Finally, I aim to illustrate that the base of criticism in Kaebyŏk served as the precursor to the criticism of sin kyŏnghyangp’a munhak (New Tendency Literature), a new genre that emerged in 1924 and 1925 the literary implications of which were considered to be the ushering in of full-fledged proletariat literature in later periods.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list and receive workshop updates, please contact jiyoung22@uchicago.edu

Faculty sponsors: Michael Bourdaghs, Paola Iovene 

The workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with a disability who believe they may need assistance, please contact Ji Young Kim (jiyoung22@uchicago.edu) or Ling Zhang (ling1@uchicago.edu)


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