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The Korean War Novel: Rewriting History from the Civil War to the Post-Cold War

Publisher: , expected Jun 2024
Link to online store *

Uncovers how historical novels rewrite the history of the Korean War

  • Revisits the Korean War and the Korean War novels from a post-Cold War perspective of decolonisation
  • Examines the dual role of East Asians as both victims and agents of the Cold War
  • Recovers previously hidden dimensions of the conflict, including its framing as a civil war, a gender war and a reverse postcolonial war or ‘proxy war’
  • Brings to the fore the hidden ideological contours of Korean War novels from a Machereyan or Jamesonian perspective
  • Writes back against the authoritative version of Cold War historiographyin an attempt to explain the contemporary nature of the unfinished conflict on the Korean peninsula today

The Korean War Novel examines the ways that novels written by Korean and Asian American writers have represented the Korean War. By studying the ideological contours of works by Richard E. Kim, Ahn Junghyo, Susan Choi, Ha Jin, Choi In-hun and Hwang Sok-yong, it documents the range of historical narratives that have alternatively framed the Korean War as an international war, a civil war, a reverse postcolonial war or ‘proxy war’, a war between the genders, and an attempt to de-escalate the Cold War itself. The dual role of North East Asians as both victims and willing agents of the Cold War comes into focus in revisiting the conflict from the post-Cold War perspective of decolonisation. Suk Koo Rhee writes back against the authoritative version of Cold War historiography to explain the contemporary nature of the unfinished conflict on the Korean peninsula today.

Suk Koo Rhee is Professor of English at Yonsei University, Seoul, where he teaches courses in postcolonial literature and theory, division literature, Asian American Novel and Asian cinema. He serves as the Managing Editor of Situations: Cultural Studies in the Asian Context. His essays have been published in a number of journals including Journal of Asian StudiesInternational Journal of Children’s LiteratureCanadian Journal of Film Studies and Genre. His four Korean monographs on postcolonial literature and theory received such major awards as The Yonsei Outstanding Research Award, The Best Monograph of the Year Award (2011, 2021) from The English Language and Literature Association of Korea, and The 2022 Korean Ministry of Education Award for the 50 Best NRF-Funded Research Projects. He is appointed as the Underwood Distinguished Professor during the term of 2022 to 2025, a prestigious award given to a Yonsei faculty member who is internationally recognized for his or her research accomplishments.


Introduction: The War That Is Not One
1. The Metaphysical War
2. The UN Ladies’ War
3. Orientalism and the Cold War
4. The Politics of Neutrality
5. Beyond the Cold War?
6. A Postcolonial War in Reverse
Conclusion: Living the Post-Cold War Legacy

Source: publisher’s website

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.