Cover: The Proletarian Wave: Literature and Leftist Culture in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945, from Harvard University PressCover: The Proletarian Wave in HARDCOVER

Harvard East Asian Monographs 374

The Proletarian Wave

Literature and Leftist Culture in Colonial Korea, 1910–1945

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Product Details


$49.95 • £39.95 • €45.00

ISBN 9780674417175

Publication Date: 04/20/2015


348 pages

6 x 9 inches

10 color illustrations, 21 line illustrations

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard East Asian Monographs


A major contribution to the scholarship on culture, capitalism, and colonialism in modern Korea. Park retrieves a critical history long suppressed by the political orthodoxies of North and South Korea and makes an eloquent case for the proletarian wave’s continued importance in our current postcolonial, ‘post-ideological’ age.—Charles K. Armstrong, Columbia University

Those interested in the social movements of the twentieth century have been aware of the importance of Korea’s radical culture. Now Park’s pathbreaking critical history of Korea’s proletarian wave offers a powerful and original paradigm for a postcolonial cultural studies that captures the ways the traveling theories of Marxism, anarchism, feminism, nationalism, Pan-Asianism, and anticolonialism were embodied and remade in the novels and stories of Korea’s vernacular modernity.—Michael Denning, Yale University

The Proletarian Wave masterfully illustrates how the Korean cultural left exceeded the spatial boundaries of colonial Korea and how Japan’s colonial oppression acted as the paradoxical constituent condition prompting Korean intellectuals to translate the promise of socialism to meet the constraints of a harsh colonial environment. What will be so enduring in Park’s retrieval of this overlooked history is the certainty that her book will find its own place in the afterlife of the colonial cultural left.—Harry Harootunian, Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago

The Proletarian Wave is a magisterial book that broadens, complicates, and innovates our understanding of the leftist thought and culture of Korea under Japanese rule. A soon-to-be Korean studies classic, it further extends its contribution to the transnational scholarship on such issues as the globalization of Marxism and socialist thought, (semi-) colonial capitalization, colonial and imperial modernities outside of Euro-America, and feminist socialist aesthetics.—Jin-kyung Lee, University of California, San Diego

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