S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) Institute of Humanities (인문학연구원) Journal of humanities (인문논총) Journal of Humanities vol.57 (2007) (인문논총)
'이상'의 아방가르드 시학
Yi Sang's Avant-Garde Poetics: Toward Ontological Inquiry into Modern Korean Literature
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 인문학연구원
- 인문논총, Vol.57, pp. 361-383
- Yi Sang, usually elected as the most significant figure in modern Korean literature, has been provoking major controversy over how academics in the field evaluate the essence of his texts. If one takes a glance at development of discourse on Yi's literature, it is easily found that the discursive process always tends to occur beyond the borderlines of body of the field: academic discipline of modern Korean literature. In this paper, I hypothesize that the substantial part of the event called Yi Sang is the avant-garde poetics and this feature results in the transcendence observed in the discourse on him. According to Peter Burger's theory, avant-garde is not the one possible form categorized under aesthetic modernism but the superior form of modernist arts. The term "avant-garde" means the most advanced guard in its literal sense; avant-garde artists attempt to become the spearhead of modern arts. In other words, they want to stand on the very verge of the territory occupied by arts in modern world, and this intention leads to the fundamental, subversive reflection of the status of the idea of arts in the modern. Avant-garde artists, therefore, try to put the idea of alloted area where arts can stay into question because, in the discourse of the modern, arts become fully autonomous from the society. After rereading Yi Sang's essays and his letters to Kim Kirim, I concluded Yi perceived that truly modern literature should stand on the self-referring reflection. Even though this perception is quite vague, this avant-garde view on arts become obvious because he performs particular application of this logic through creating and publicizing a truly avant-garde poem, "Ogamdo: Si Che Il Ho [Crows-Eye View: Poem No. 1]". Because avant-garde works are created by the intention to put the autonomy of arts into question, they are outside the supposed self-sufficiency of works of art. When one tries to read "Ogando: Si Che Il Ho" in the light of the given idea, she necessarily fails to find out what the poem truly means. The work forces not to find its hermeneutic meaning but to reconsider the putative concept of art. This message constitutes the essence of Yi Sang's avant-garde poetics. With this poetics, Yi becomes the event who provoke ontological questions among his readers in modern Korean literature. Through Alain Badiou's contemplations on ethics, the event has ones who wants to remain faithful to it face their ontological status.