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In South Korea, Confucian traditions are strong, thanks to which the ideology of male superiority permeates the entire system of social relations. Until now, women's participation in politics and big business remains very modest compared to the developed countries of the West, and they still face manifestations of "male chauvinism" [for more details, see: Lankov, 2000, pp. 219-220]. It is not surprising, therefore, that attention to gender relations and the status of women in Korean society is increasing every year.

The first attempts to emancipate Korean women were made in the second half of the 19th century by Christian missionaries who promoted the idea of human equality and gave a great role to women's education [Kim Yangchang, 1997, pp. 197-198]. The ideas of equality of people were also laid down in the Tonhak doctrine, which later became "one of the leading forces in the struggle for Korean independence... "[see: Kurbanov, 2002, pp. 321-323]. Under the influence of an external threat to state sovereignty, the Independence Society () was created - In addition to demanding democratic freedoms, members of this society promoted knowledge as a path to progressive development of the Motherland [see: Tyagai and Pak, 1996, pp. 11-12], and also paid great attention to the status of women and advocated the creation of a network of women's schools. But "at that time, the demand for equality in education did not have the character of a struggle for equality between women and men" [Kim Yangchang, 1997, p.297]. In the wake of the enlightenment movement, women's activities became more active, as evidenced by the fact that in the early 1900s there were already women's organizations in Korea that had their own printed publications. The goal of some organizations was educational activities, while others were charitable [for more information, see Kim Yangchang, 1997, pp. 251-258].

In the 1920s and 1930s, Western ideas of "gender equality" penetrated Korea, but they could not spread, since the foundations of Confucian society at that time were very strong. Active social activities of women were perceived as immoral and were condemned. Despite this, during the years of Japanese occupation, women took part in the patriotic movement on an equal basis with men, supported protests against colonial policies, the cruel exploitation of workers, the humiliation of the national dignity of Koreans and the disenfranchisement of women. However, in 1930, the Japanese authorities repressed patriotic and women's organizations, and their activities ceased. Many newspapers and magazines have stopped being published.

In the 1920s and 1930s, female writers appeared on the literary scene, marking the beginning of modern women's literature. In their works, they tried to show the disenfranchised position of their contemporaries and the injustice of the old patriarchal foundations, when women were reduced to the level of domestic slaves. But the struggle to change their fate was not only in the literary arena. In Korean society itself, voices began to be heard in defense of women's rights. In 1948, with the establishment of democratic institutions in the Republic of Korea, they were guaranteed equal political rights with men, including the right to education and work. These guarantees were not won by women in the political struggle, they were simply granted to them [for more details, see Kim Yangchang, 1997, pp. 278-283]. However, the declared freedoms could not destroy the centuries-old traditional order, and the Korean woman did not gain real freedom.

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Speaking about the peculiarities of the women's movement of these years, critic Kim Jong-ja notes that in Korea it was not an organized and independent phenomenon. As you know, in the West, the feminist movement began with the struggle of women for their civil rights, in particular for granting them suffrage (the so-called suffragism), for "gender equality". In Korea, however, this movement was mainly limited to educational activities aimed at fighting for the independence of the state, and had a pronounced patriotic character [see Kim Jong-ja, 1991, p.18].

The second wave of feminism, which rose in the West in the 1960s and 1970s [see: Temkina, 1996, p. 9], later reached South Korea. The state embarked on the path of industrialization, and the development of all sectors of the economy required new workers, including women. At this time, along with the active labor and student movements, women's feminist organizations began to work, criticizing the foundations of a society in which women's rights were violated. However, it cannot be said that the voices of feminists were listened to in Korean society at that time.

The penetration of feminist ideas into various spheres of Korean society continued in the 1980s.It was then that the gradual process of democratization began in the Republic of Korea, which was objectively determined by the overall economic growth of the country and the growth of the material well-being of its citizens [Kurbanov, 2002, p. 532]. Major changes have taken place in the social structure of society, and the system of family relations has been shaken. The country laid the foundation for the perception of Western civilization, and its influence affected the entire way of life of Koreans.

The people of Korea no longer wanted to remain within the narrow confines of traditional collectivist institutions, and each individual had the opportunity to express their individuality. In such circumstances, the problem of gender inequality could no longer be ignored. Such new concepts as "women's emancipation" appeared in society, and the question of the legitimacy of the ideology of male superiority began to be considered. A characteristic feature of this period was the increase in the number of divorces, which can be considered a consequence of the expansion of women's rights.

Gradually, the feminist movement in the country became more popular, and in the 1990s the activities of women's organizations were no longer limited to the demand for gender equality; radical feminism aimed at asserting the superiority of women became widespread. "A woman is more peaceful than men, a woman is characterized by subjectivity, intimacy, dreaminess, emotionality," said the ideologists of this radical trend [Temkina, 1996, p. 9]. In 1998, the Academic Society of Feminism and Korean Literature was established in the Republic of Korea, which is still active today. These trends contributed to the further development of literature, the creation of new works addressed to the inner world of man. Women have made a big contribution to this process.

In South Korean literature, women's prose has a special place, it has its own history, and its development spans a long period. Unfortunately, Russian Korean studies have not yet paid much attention to this topic.

Conducting a chronological review of the formation of women's prose, we can identify its most important stages first in Korea, and after 1945 - in the Republic of Korea.

Among the surviving works written by women, the lyrics of the 16th century are known, both in Korean (sicho) and in Chinese. The authors of these poems were kisyeon (singers and musicians), among whom the most famous are Hwang Chin (literary pseudonym Myeongwol) (1506-1544), Lee Kyo - ran (Machan) (1573-1611) and Jin Ok. Modern researchers of the poetic creativity of traditional Korean women in the sicho genre believe that their poems are "a plot, a spell, a prayer" aimed at making this world happy...where life continues thanks to the harmonious interaction of two eternal principles-men and women" [Kasatkina, 2003, p.27, 30].

The poetic traditions of the XVI century were continued in the poetry of the XVIII century, with the development of the genre of kyuban casa - "melodious stanzas of the female half of the house". The theme of women's poetry of that time did not change much - it is still a world of personal feelings; women write about their hard lot, meetings and partings, devotion to a loved one, waiting for his return. At the beginning of the XX century, women's literature, in addition to love themes, began to touch on "civil themes". German researcher of Korean literature Sonia Hessler from-

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It seems that after the 1960s, the kyuban casa genre "declined" [Haeussler, 2006, p. 206], but still remained as a tradition. Nowadays, women who are proficient in the art of speech continue to compose and perform kasa, following the rules of the genre.

In prose, women have shown themselves primarily in the diary genre. In the XVII-XVIII centuries. in Korean literature, an interest in a person's private life has become noticeable. Diary prose, which has come down to us mainly in the form of diary entries of courtiers, is replete with personal impressions and emotional experiences. The most famous work in this genre, created in Korean, is "Written in Suffering" (Hanjung nok -). Its author was Mrs. Hong, wife of Prince Sado (1735-1762), the heir to the throne. Ms. Hong died in 1815, leaving behind a diary that is "emotionally close to women's lyrical poetry" (Trotsevich, 2004, p. 174).

In addition, at the end of the 17th century, the genre of traditional Korean novels developed, the main readers of which, as a rule, were women. Most of these mostly anonymous works were passed around in the form of manuscripts. There is an assumption that the novels were copied and distributed mainly by women [Trotsevich, 2004, p. 176].

In the genre of biography of Chon of the XVIII century, an anonymous work "Biography of the Empress Inkhyun" is known, dedicated to the "exemplary wife" who was ruined by the intrigues of the courtiers. There is an assumption that the author of this composition could be one of the ladies-in-waiting close to the empress [Trotsevich, 2004, p. 205].

It should be noted that the main characters of popular works of traditional Korean literature were, as a rule, the image of either a virtuous wife (the story of an unknown author "Faithful Chun-hyang "[Faithful Chun-hyang, 1990], the novel by Kim Manjun [The Wanderings of Mrs. Sa..., 1960, p. 323]), or a respectful daughter [The Tale of Sim Chon, 1960, p. 179]. This traditional image of a Korean woman dominated literature until the early 20th century.

In the works of the 1920s and 1930s, new types of heroines appear, but they are still, as a rule, weak dependent beings who do not have the rights and opportunities to control their fate [see fig. read more: Retner, 1997, p. 59].

In Korean society, attitudes towards women's social activities in general and writing in particular have always been critical. In the works of Korean researchers, this literature "looks like a special island and does not fit into the general flow of literature development. Even in the research of contemporary authors, it is not presented as one of the areas related to general trends in the movement of literature, but simply allocated to special sections devoted specifically to women's poetic and prose creativity " (Trotsevich, 2004, p. 175).

In the 20th century, the first writer of the new type was Kim Myeongsun (1896 -?). Along with male writers, she worked in the editorial offices of the magazines "Creativity" established by Kim Tonin 1, and "Ruins" founded by a group of young writers Kim Ok Kim Yonghwan Yom Sunsop and others. In these magazines, she published her works. Kim Myeong-sun's first short story, written in 1917, is called "A Girl under Suspicion". This story depicts reality in a realistic way and speaks with great sympathy about the difficult situation of women. Following this work, the writer published several more romantic and sentimental stories. Her talent was also shown in poetry; in 1925, a collection of her poems was published. However, in her homeland, Kim Myung-sun's writing career was frowned upon, and she became the object of criticism and condemnation.

Traditionally in Korea, literature was considered the prerogative of men. But in the 1930s, in addition to Kim Myeong-sun, two other female writers appeared in the literary arena: Kim Wonju (1896-1971) and Na Hye - seok (1885-1946). Their work was also condemned and attacked by the conservative part of society. However, their activities contributed to the further liberation of the Korean woman from patriarchal foundations, gave her the opportunity to engage in creative work. The first writers were outstanding women of their time. Not only did they have the courage, but they also had the strength-

1 Well-known writer, adherent of "pure literature", years of life: 1900-1951.

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a unique talent. However, critic Kim Yangchang believes that "they lacked experience in analyzing current events and understanding life in all its manifestations" (Kim Yangchang, 1997, p. 295).

In the 1930s, the names of writers Kim Malbon (1901-1961), Park Hwaseong (1904-1988), Kang Gyeong-dae (1907-1943) and Baek Shin - dae (1908-1939) became known, who continued to work in the genre of women's prose and contributed to its development. The familiarity of Koreans with Western culture, the appearance of women's schools and institutes contributed to the fact that women in Korea began to actively participate in public life, were given the opportunity to teach and engage in creative work. Their works were published in newspapers and magazines. Some of the Korean women managed to continue their studies abroad.

A well-known writer of this period was Park Hwaseong, whose literary career began quite early, at the age of 21. Her works "Sewage works" "The Spirit of Drought"" During plowing " describe the harsh life of ordinary people, peasants and workers suffering from the excesses of the authorities and colonial oppression. The heroes of these works try to preserve their dignity in the most difficult situations. The writer's stories and novels are often sentimental and didactic in nature.

Unlike Park Hwaseong's works, which are based on didactic prose, Kang Gyeong-tae's works affirm the principles of realism. This writer shows the lives of ordinary people, and her stories often end tragically. The issues raised in her works are relevant and realistic. So, in the story "Mother and Daughter" published in 1931, it is said about the contradictions between the older and younger generations. The novel "Problems of Humanity" 2 (1934) shows the poor life of peasants in the 1920s - 1930s, downtrodden and submissive to the will of a cruel autocrat-landowner. Korean literature researcher Cho Tonil notes that "during this period, there were not many works that described the lives of people struggling against violence against them so truthfully and harshly. Kang Kenae's work is distinguished by a special style, where the author's position is expressed through special signs and hints, reflections of the characters, and not through decisive actions of the characters " [Cho Tonil, 1998, p. 335].

Another writer, Baek Sinae, despite her short life, left a noticeable mark on Korean national literature. An active participant in the women's movement, she sympathizes with the sufferings of ordinary people in her work, expresses her attitude to the current problems of modern society. The writer tells true stories about the fate of Korean families living not only in Korea, but also abroad. Thus, the novel Koreans (1934) describes the sad fate of a family that left their homeland in search of a better life and settled in Siberia. In the work "A Friend who has Gone Far Away" (), a boy tells the story of a friend with whom he had to part: poverty forced his family to go to Manchuria. The main idea of these works, says Min Hyung-hee," lies in the need to liberate the motherland and the suffering people from the colonialists "[Min Hengi, 1998, p. 129].

Unlike the above-mentioned authors, who focused on social problems and the cruelties of the modern world, Kim Malbon, continuing the traditional focus of women's literature, devotes her stories and novels to human relationships, paying great attention to romantic and love stories. So, in the story "Payback" describes the story of a married man who regrets that his life was spent aimlessly, and in the story "Letter" the main character suffers from jealousy. "Kim Malbon's works were very popular with readers, despite the fact that the characters lacked purposefulness and strength in the fight against the vicissitudes of fate" (Min Hyungi, 1998, p.135).

According to modern Korean researchers, the works of female writers of the 1930s differ from those written by their predecessors in the 1920s, with a higher level of writing skills and artistic merit. They are united by a common theme -the theme of the suffering of poor people from the hardships of colonial life, revealed through the characters and destinies of female characters. "In the works of the 1930s, one can detect the ideological maturity of female writers and the growth of female self-consciousness" [Min Hengi, 1998, p. 152]. Typical,

2 The novel was translated into Russian (Kang Kyung-ae, 1955).

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that all these women writers were well-educated, fought for equal rights with men, and participated in women's organizations.

Women's prose of the occupation period is mainly devoted to the troubles that befell ordinary people, and their suffering, the lives of the heroes of the works often end tragically. It should be said that the theme of women's prose of this period does not differ from works written by men. The only distinguishing feature is that her heroines are mostly women. Therefore, at this stage, the critics ' emphasis on special "women's literature" looks artificial. Most likely, critics, following the tradition, simply cannot avoid the usual opposition "female-male". This traditional opposition in the evaluation of Korean literary creativity can also be seen in the works of contemporary critics.

By 1945, when Korea was liberated from Japanese colonialism, the number of women writers had increased. In addition to the actual literary work, they also took part in the controversy that unfolded between various literary communities on the pages of newspapers and magazines. Writers, among other public and cultural figures, were looking for a path to follow for the new literature of the people who were freed after a 35-year period of colonial dependence.

After the end of the Korean War in 1953, among the women writers who contributed to the formation of the new Korean literature, the most prominent figures were Kang Shinjae (born in 1924), Song Sohee (1917-1986), Han Malsuk (born in 1931) , and Park Kenny (born in 1927 G.). They worked in the most difficult conditions of post-war devastation and chaos and created works in which new characters appeared, who in their own way sought the meaning of life.

Park Kenny was the most famous female writer of this period. In her short story " The Age of Disbelief "(1957), the degradation of modern society is shown from the point of view of a woman. At this time, many writers turned to the burning tragic theme of the division of the country. In the novel "The Market and the Battlefield" (1964), an attempt was made to analyze the causes of the civil war from the point of view of ordinary people. Another writer, Song Sohee, in her short stories "When the Calamus Blooms" (1956) and "Valley of the Sun" (1959), describing love stories, pays special attention to the psychology of women. Love helps the heroes of these works to overcome the hardships of life.

As noted by Korean critics, the work of writer Kang Shinjae is distinguished by the beauty of style. In her short story "The Young Dzelkva" (1960), she describes how the dominant patriarchal laws in society affect women's destinies. In Han Malsuk's prose, the main theme is also the position of a woman, her attitude to the existing order. In the novel The Myth-Filled Cliff (1957), about the lives of people after the war, she criticizes those women who live only in the present day. In his work" The White Way", Han Malsuk describes a new generation of people who oppose the hypocrisy of ordinary people and the old order [Kwon Yeonmin, 2001, pp. 66-67].

In the 1960s, prose written by women was not yet considered feminist by Korean critics, although the main problems discussed by the authors were the legal inequality of women, their low status in the family and society compared to men, and unfair laws that degrade their dignity. Since the 1970s, women's literature has already been armed with a feminist ideology that opposes the ideology of male supremacy in society, and this testified to the further growth of Korean women's self-awareness.

During this period, the works of new writers appeared: Park Wan-so (19 ), Oh Chon-hee (1947), So Yeon-eun (1943), Kim Chae-won (1946), and others. Their stories and novels "do not fit the Korean critics' definition of 'women's sentimentality', although these authors wrote about their own special vision of the world, raised questions about the role of women in the family and in modern society. In their works, women writers talk about the life of the so-called middle class, pay attention to the situation of women in patriarchal families, and raise the issue of unfair, dismissive attitude towards them on the part of men" [Kwon Yeonmin, 2001, pp. 83-84]. Along with this, they raise the problems of personal relationships between men and women-

* A type of tree native to Korea.

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They contrast their characters, emphasize the desire of women to live in harmony with a man. In addition, in the works of that time, "one can find a negative attitude of the authors towards selfish or greedy heroines, criticism of excessive guardianship and boundless love of a mother for her son, the reasons for which lie in the same ideology of male superiority" [Cho Namhyun, 1998, p. 68].

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was almost no place for the individual with his or her personal problems in the rapid flow of life in Korean society. During this period, new mass media began to play an important role, computerization covered all areas of people's activities. Writers (both men and women) pay attention to how the old ideology is being destroyed in the new era of rampant greed, profit and the cult of money, and how the media affect the way of life and consciousness of people. The theme of the works of this time stands out for its social orientation. The German researcher of Korean literature, Ryota Retner, notes that "the number of women engaged in professional literary activities is steadily increasing, indicating an increasing role of women in society" (Retner, 1997, p. 59).

Since the late 1980s, the term "feminist literature" has been used by literary critics, and the works of women writers began to attract more and more attention from readers. "The development of democratic institutions and changes in public life have so improved the position of women engaged in literature that women's voices have begun to stand out from the general mass of writers. The creativity of female writers, high appreciation of their skills, and great popularity among readers contributed to the fact that by this time the theory of feminism was considered as the main trend in literature" [Kim Mihyun, 1996, p.42-3], and women's prose became associated with feminist literature.

Critic Lee Sang-soo, in his article "A Conversation about Prose on various Topics," cites the definition of feminist prose given by literature researcher Kim Chisoo: "Feminist prose is defined as prose in which a female author assigns the role of the main character to a woman and shows how the education system and culture focused on the dominance of male power take away a woman's sense of humanity virtues" [Lee Sansu, 1995, p. 100]. This definition applies to works written before the 1970s, in which heroines forced to live in misery are presented as victims of men. However, in the 1990s, the image of a new woman appeared in Korean literature, economically independent of men, who already wants to live for herself, and not just for men and children.

The appearance of progressive women was frowned upon by conservative critics. As a result, there was a conflict between women who wanted to live in a new way, to feel free, and men who were quite happy with life according to the old rules. But according to critic Ahn Nammyeon, " ... since a man and a woman should live together peacefully on this earth, it was necessary to find ways to maintain normal relations between them. As a result of such searches, a trend towards feminism emerged in literature, which was developed in the works of writers of a new generation" [An Namen, 1998, p.468].

At that time, in the Republic of Korea, adherents of the women's movement were divided into two camps: some believed that a woman should rule a man, while others advocated cooperation between men and women. Attention was also drawn to the statement that in order to implement the ideas of feminism ,the "weaker sex" must first destroy some of the character traits inherent in an Eastern woman brought up in a patriarchal society. The second half of the 1990s, a time of unprecedented popularity of women's prose, is referred to by some researchers as "gynocentric", because one could see radical feminist views in the works of female writers (Cho Nam-hyun, 1998, p.60). So, the heroines of Lee Gyeongja (born in 1948) are trying to get rid of the "remnants of the past", they are openly fighting against men, trying to win over them, proving their strength.

Today, most Korean women writers are less radical. They prefer to express their position, bringing out as heroines women who have realized the right to a decent life, are able to make their own choices, while at the same time emphasizing femininity and the desire for harmony in their characters. This does not prevent, however, writers from consistently pursuing the idea that a Korean woman should be strong,

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purposeful, have your own point of view. Perhaps this is what the conservative part of society sees as the idea of feminism, which contradicts the basic laws of a patriarchal society based on Confucian morality.

Despite the fact that women's prose continues to be associated with feminist literature in South Korea, a different trend has emerged recently. Women writers began not only to address topics directly related to the" women's question", but also to address in their works problems that affect a wider range of human relationships. If in the 1990s they were established through a new, "bold female view" of the relationship between men and women, attracting readers with their frankness, then in the coming XXI century it became clear that this topic had exhausted itself. A new step in the development of Korean women's prose was, according to critics, Eun Hyun's novel "Secret and Lies", which was published in early 2005. Its content goes far beyond traditional women's issues, it speaks about love for the native land, its history, national traditions and beliefs - about the sources that feed the culture of the people, without which the harmonious development of a person and society is impossible.

list of literature

Ahn Namen. Research of ways to reflect changes in modern society in prose. Seoul, 1998.

Vernaya Chkhunkhyan, Moscow, 1990.

Kang Kyung Ye. Problemy chelovechestva [Problems of Humanity], Moscow, 1955.

Kasatkina N. Poeticheskoe tvorchestvo zhenshchin srednevekovoy Korey v zhanre sichjo [Poetic creativity of women of medieval Korea in the sichjo genre]. Moscow-Saint Petersburg. June 2003. Moscow, 2003.

Kwon Youngmin. Modern Korean Literature (II) (Kwon Young-Min. Modern Korean Literature (11) // Seoul Journal of Korean Studies, Vol. 14. December 2001.

Kim Mihyun. Korean Women's Prose and Feminism (). Seoul, 1996.

Kim Yangchang. Korean Women (Yung-Chang Kim. Women of Korea). Seoul, 1997.

Kim Jong-ja. Studies of Korean Women's Prose (). Seoul, 1991.

Kurbanov S. O. Course of lectures on the history of Korea from antiquity to the end of the XX century. St. Petersburg, 2002.

Lankov A. N. Korea. Weekdays and Holidays, Moscow, 2000.

Lee Sansoo. Talk about prose on various topics (). Seoul, 1995.

Min Hengi. A Study of Modern Korean Prose (). Daegu, 1998.

The Tale of Sim Chon / / The story of fidelity Chun Hyang. Moscow, 1960.

Reta Retner. Proceedings of the International conference dedicated to the Centenary of Korean Studies at SPSU14 - 16 October 1997. (Reta Retner. On the changing image of the woman in Korean literature). St. Petersburg, 1997.

Wanderings of Mrs. Sa in the South / / The story of fidelity Chhun Hyang. Moscow, 1960.

Temkina A. Mnogolikiy feminizm [Many-faced feminism]: East-West, St. Petersburg: ISAI RAS, 1996.

Trotsevich A. F. Istoriya koreiskoi traditsionnoi literatury (do XX V.) [History of Korean traditional Literature (up to the XX century)].

Tyagai G. D., Pak V. P. National Idea and enlightenment in Korea at the beginning of the XX century. Moscow, 1996.

Jo Namhyun. Women's prose of the 1970s and 1980s and feminism. Discussion on Literature of the 1990s (). Seoul, 1998.

Cho Tonil. General History of Korean literature. Vol. 5. (). Seoul, 1998.

Haeussler S. Preserving and Creating Kyubang Kasa in Contemporary Korea: A Traditional Genre in a Rapidly Changing Socio-Cultural Environment // International Scientific Conference " Oriental and African Studies at the universities of St. Petersburg, Russia, and Europe. Actual problems and prospects". Abstracts of reports. April 4-6, 2006. St. Petersburg, 2006.


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