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Han Sorya and North Korean Literature: The Failure of Socialist Realism in the Dprk Paperback – Jan 1994

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Paperback, Jan 1994
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell Univ East Asia Program (January 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939657694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939657698
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,477,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
fascinating Nov. 2 2000
By A Customer - Published on
I was looking for a book which goes beyond the usual cliches about North Korea, so although I wasn't that interested in literature I bought this book. It provides a fascinating look at a North Korea that I hadn't known existed. We all tend to think that the personality cult kicked in right after 1945, but this book shows that it developed over time, with literary figures like Han Sorya playing a large role in developing what Myers calls the "iconography" of the personality cult. The book is also entertaining, since it describes the various factional struggles inside the literary scene. The analysis of Han's novels is very wittily done. After reading this book, I felt that I knew the North Korea of the forties and fifties.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
not just for literary historians May 1 1999
By A Customer - Published on
This is really the only study of North Korean culture in English, but it is also indispensable for historians and political scientists. Myers' explanation of the DPRK's glorification of spontaneous impulses/rages etc goes a long way towards explaining that country's long list of idiotically self-defeating terrorist acts - from the ax murders at the DMZ to the Rangoon bombing.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Significant twenty years ago, but no more Jan. 26 2013
By Customer - Published on
This book was published two decades ago. Its claim (the failure of socialist realism in North Korea) has long been disproved. When the book was new, several academic reviewers pointed out it was pretty one-sided and assertive (e.g., Stephen Epstein and Yearn Hong Choi). Some of the purely factual information about Han Sorya is useful. But the evaluations/judgments of the man and his work are biased and sweeping. Tatiana Gabroussenko's _Soldiers on the Cultural Front_ (U of Hawaii P, 2010) is the most recent refutation and shows evidence that socialist realism was successful in North Korea.