The latest title in the Center for Korean Studies Hawaiâ€˜i Studies on Korea series has been named to the Choice magazine list of outstanding academic titles for 2012. The honor was conferred on Soldiers on the Cultural Front: Developments in the Early History of North Korean Literature and Literary Policy by Tatiana Gabroussenko of the Australian National University. The series is published for the Center by the University of Hawaiâ€˜i Press.
Choice is a publication of the Association for College & Research libraries, a division of the American Library Association. More than 25,000 academic librarians, faculty, and key decision makers rely on its reviews for collection development and scholarly research. Choice reaches most of the undergraduate college and university libraries in the United States. The 2012 Outstanding Academic Titles list appears in the January 2012 issue of the magazine.
Gabroussenkoâ€™s book was chosen from among some seven thousand titles reviewed by Choice during the past year. Selected titles were chosen for â€œtheir excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as important – often the first – treatment of their subject.â€
Soldiers on the Cultural Front represents the first consistent research on the early history of North Koreaâ€™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 â€œromance with Moscowâ€ 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. Considering the unique phenomenon of North Korean literary critique, the author analyzes the political campaigns and purges of 1947â€“1960 and investigates the role of North Korean critics as â€œpolitical executionersâ€ in these events. She draws on an impressive variety and number of sourcesâ€”ranging from interviews with Korean and Soviet participants, public and family archives, and memoirs to original literary and critical textsâ€”to present a balanced and eye-opening work that will benefit those interested in not only understanding North Korean literature and society, but also rethinking forms of socialist modernity elsewhere in the world.
For more information about the book and other titles in the Hawai’i Studies on Korea series, see http://www.hawaii.edu/korea/pages/Publications/books.html.