Soldiers on the Cultural Front: Developments in the early history of North Korean literature and literary policy

Tatiana Gabroussenko

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    An understanding of contemporary North Korea's literature is virtually impossible without an investigation of its formative period, 1945-1960, which saw a gradual transformation from the initial "Soviet era" to a Korean version of "national Stalinism." This established a long-lasting framework for North Korean literature and set up an elaborate system of political control over literary matters, as well as over the people who served in this field. In 1946, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Il Sung described the country's writers as "soldiers on the cultural front," thus clearly defining what the nascent Communist regime expected from its intellectuals. This book presents research on the early history of North Korea's literature and literary policy in Western scholarship. It traces the introduction and development of Soviet-organized conventions in North Korean literary propaganda and investigates why the "romance with Moscow" was destined to be short lived. It reconstructs the biographies and worldviews of major personalities who shaped North Korean literature and teases these historical figures out of popular scholarly myth and misconception. The book also investigates the specific forms of control over intellectuals and literary matters in North Korea. It analyzes the political campaigns and purges of 1947-1960 and investigates the role of North Korean critics as "political executioners" in these events.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationUSA
    PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
    Number of pages239
    ISBN (Print)9780824833961
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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