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Impossible Speech

The Politics of Representation in Contemporary Korean Literature and Film

«In Impossible Speech, Hanscom reveals the banality and complacency of recent political art dealing with marginalized figures on the Korean peninsula. Works that are deemed to be justice-oriented or truth-telling are, as Hanscom shows, often already confined by the acceptable parameters of the speakable. A powerful and original intervention in Korean studies.»

Sonia Ryang, author of <i>Language and Truth in North Korea</i>

In what ways can or should art engage with its social context? Authors, readers, and critics have been preoccupied with this question since the dawn of modern literature in Korea. Advocates of social engagement have typically focused on realist texts, seeing such works as best suited to represent injustices and inequalities by describing them as if they were before our very eyes. Les mer

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In what ways can or should art engage with its social context? Authors, readers, and critics have been preoccupied with this question since the dawn of modern literature in Korea. Advocates of social engagement have typically focused on realist texts, seeing such works as best suited to represent injustices and inequalities by describing them as if they were before our very eyes.

Christopher P. Hanscom questions this understanding of political art by examining four figures central to recent Korean fiction, film, and public discourse: the migrant laborer, the witness to or survivor of state violence, the refugee, and the socially excluded urban precariat. Instead of making these marginalized figures intelligible to common sense, this book reveals the capacity of art to address the “impossible speech” of those who are not asked, expected, or allowed to put forward their thoughts, yet who in so doing expand the limits of the possible.

Impossible Speech proposes a new approach to literature and film that foregrounds ostensibly “nonpolitical” or nonsensical moments, challenging assumptions about the relationship between politics and art that locate the “politics” of the work in the representation of content understood in advance as being political. Recasting the political as a struggle over the possibility or impossibility of speech itself, this book finds the politics of a work of art in its power to confront the boundaries of what is sayable.

Detaljer

Forlag
Columbia University Press
Innbinding
Innbundet
Språk
Engelsk
ISBN
9780231208482
Utgivelsesår
2024
Format
23 x 15 cm

Om forfatteren

Christopher P. Hanscom is a professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Real Modern: Literary Modernism and the Crisis of Representation in Colonial Korea (2013), as well as coeditor of Imperatives of Culture: Selected Essays on Korean History, Literature, and Society from the Japanese Colonial Era (2013) and The Affect of Difference: Representations of Race in East Asian Empire (2016).

Anmeldelser

«In Impossible Speech, Hanscom reveals the banality and complacency of recent political art dealing with marginalized figures on the Korean peninsula. Works that are deemed to be justice-oriented or truth-telling are, as Hanscom shows, often already confined by the acceptable parameters of the speakable. A powerful and original intervention in Korean studies.»

Sonia Ryang, author of <i>Language and Truth in North Korea</i>

«Hanscom’s Impossible Speech questions realist frames that organize understandings of multiculturalism and migrant workers, reductionist appropriations of trauma, and narrative accounts and defector testimonials of life in North Korea. Placing works that appeal to the verisimilar in close conversation with those that upend communicative transparency, Impossible Speech offers a theoretically sophisticated, interdisciplinary inquiry into the political as possible. A compelling and important book.»

Theodore Hughes, author of <i>Literature and Film in Cold War South Korea: Freedom’s Frontier</i>

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