Poetry in motion : Ko Un and Korean democratisation
Hundt, David 2008, Poetry in motion : Ko Un and Korean democratisation. In Davies, Gloria, D'Cruz, J.V. and Hollier, Nathan (ed), Profiles in courage : political actors & ideas in contemporary Asia, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, Vic., pp.43-54.
This essay focuses on the poet and intellectual Ko Un, a prominent nationalist and critic of successive authoritarian regimes in Korea. Ashis Nandy gleaned insights into colonial India by investigating the lives of individuals who were emblematic of British colonialism. For instance Nandy focused on Rudyard Kipling to explain how colonialism damaged both Indians and the English who were complicit to it. Similarly, I intend to use the life and literary output of Ko Un to glean insights into Korea’s fight for democracy in the context of the onset of modernisation. Through his political activism and writing Ko celebrated the lives of ordinary Koreans, including his one-time prison mate Kim Dae-jung and numerous political activists, workers, and farmers. He linked their struggle for democracy to a much longer quest to preserve what he considered to be the unique and invaluable aspects of the Korean national character.
Field of Research
160607 International Relations 160606 Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific 169903 Studies of Asian Society
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