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SOAS seminar: The Rise of The Modern Korean Horror Narrative

Speaker: Chiyoung Kim (Daegu Catholic University)
Date: Thursday 9 June 2022, 5pm - 7pm
Venue: Online | Tickets: Free |
NB: talk will be held in Korean
Horror Narrative - illustration

In pre-modern Chosôn, the ghost story did not develop much. It was after the modern era that the terrifying story of the appearance of ghosts and goblins in Korea emerged as a customary narrative style.

In Chosôn Confucianism, ghosts did not belong to a world completely different from that of living people, and they were less terrifying and vicious than they are generally imagined today. The spirits of dead people were believed to return to nature, dissipating without enduring as independent souls. In Confucianism, the phenomenon of ghosts associated with dead human beings was understood as an extraordinary temporary status arising from the operation failure of the principle of the world.

Then during the Korean colonial period, a modern hobby-culture developed around the impact of Japanese popular cultural trend called ‘erotic-grotesque-nonsense,’ and ghosts and goblins were turned into terrifying evil spirits. Since these stories of ghosts and goblins did not fit in the population who advocated modern rationalism, the Korean horror narrative grew out of contradictions and conflicts between surreal materials and the rationality of the modern Enlightenment.

In this context, this talk will discuss the historical process by which modern horror stories in Korea were established in a popular narrative style. In the process, this talk will examine the modern metamorphosis of concepts that have pointed to the bizarre, the change in the form and character of ghosts, the inner conflict of the modern intellect in the face of the surreal, and the resulting hierarchical differentiation of the horror narrative.

Speaker Biography

Chiyoung Kim is an associate professor at Daegu Catholic University, Daegu. She is a CKS visiting scholar currently. Research areas are modern Korean prose genre, modern Korean conceptual history, the origin of Korean popular narrative styles, etc. She has published 2 books and 40 articles besides 7 co-authored books in Korea. Her 2 books titled “The Representation of Yônae – Love and the Emergence of Modern Korean Novel” and “The Modernity of Fascination, the Adventure of Everyday Life,” were selected as one of the outstanding academic books of the year by the Korean Ministry of Culture and Gymnasium Miner in 2008 and 2016 respectively. She is an associate editor of Korean academic journals such as Journal of Popular Narrative (2012-), Journal of Korean Literary Criticism (2015-), Concept and Communication (2011-), etc. She received her Ph.D. in modern Korean literature from Korea University, Seoul

(automatically generated) You can find a video of this event on the SOAS CKS YouTube channel, here.

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