Sympathy and Hospitality toward Overcoming Modernity with Ch'oe Yun

Department: Center for Critical Korean Studies

Date and Time: February 7, 2019 | 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Event Location: Humanities Gateway 1010

Event Details

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Ch’oe Yun’s award winning stories have been widely translated and mesmerize readers in many languages throughout the world.  As a professor in French literature, she is known as a writer of formidable intellect and stylistic versatility.  Her work is elegant and emotional, and typically addresses the psychological damages done to individuals in post-war Korea.  Ch'oe is notable as one of the first novelists to focus on the impact gender roles have had in modern Korean literature.  In her recent works, Ch’oe Yun seeks to examine some of the fundamental issues of contemporary society.  By focusing on the question of ethics, she seeks universal values for the future of the humanity.

In her novel Mannequine (2016), she critically examines a woman’s body as physical capital in contemporary society and contrasts it with the pursuit of ideal beauty.  The novel traces the escape of Jini, a beautiful advertising model and the mannequin of the title, from the family which is set as a symbol of the capitalistic society in pursuit of existential beauty.  In the course of the narrative, readers find several characters that are given names of marine animals such as star fish, lionfish, or shark lives off of the beauty of Jini. In stories such as “10:55” “Accompaniment” “Handkerchief” “A Woman in Pink Top” and “Weeping Sound,” Ch’oe Yun offers poetics of communication and hospitality by highlighting the ability of language that restores its performativity.  While exposing the disintegrated values and phenomenon, Ch’oe explores the possibility of the restoration of humanity and the direction thereof.