Kang Kyŏng-ae’s canonical novel In’gan munje (1934) is often celebrated as an extraordinary work of feminist writing from colonial Korea that offered a radical critique of patriarchal and bourgeois culture in the Japanese colony. This essay seeks to unsettle several historiographical assumptions often made about Kang’s novel by digging deeper into the set of historical pressures and limits within which Kang was writing in the colonial period, and by examining how she responded to these conditions by challenging and reshaping the aesthetic category of the novel. Demonstrating how Kang’s work is a far more complex and contradictory text than is often acknowledged with regard to questions of gender and class, I shed new light on Kang’s novel in two different but complementary ways, historicizing it within the material context of its serialization, on the one hand, and reading it within the framework of the Western Bildungsroman on the other.


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pp. 99-123
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