Modern Literature after the 1960s in Korea

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Abstract

Since the beginning of the 1990s in Korea, the category and definition of new generation literature have become the topic of heated debate. One may understand this tendency as ‘generation severance’, ‘alienation between social classes’, or the ‘consumption-oriented culture of the masses’. Here, we call the literary youth born in approximately 1960 ‘the new generation’.

In literature, the new generation refers to the appearance of a new culture and way of thinking. This generation passed their childhood in the 1970s and faced no such great difficulties as their parents combating poverty. However, they grew up under the indirect influence of a dark political outlook and suppression. Generally, they have a great affection for the culture produced by mass media.

If we compare their development process with the literary stream in Korea, the 1960s could be defined as the era of literature for independence and strong self-awareness, the 1970s as the era for people, the 1980s as the era for the rights or emancipation of labour, and the 1990s as the era of new generation literature. Meanwhile, the appearance of the ‘Korean Wave’, or so-called ‘Hallyu’, has become one of the most beloved popular cultural phenomena both in Asia and in other countries since the late 1990s.

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