The Dehistoricization Trend in Historical Plays: Play with History and Everyday Life History Writing

역사극의 탈역사화 경향: 역사의 유희와 일상사적 역사 쓰기

  • Received : 2012.09.30
  • Accepted : 2012.11.17
  • Published : 2012.12.30


In Korea, historical plays took an epoch-making turn from the previous historical plays in terms of approaches to topic and material and methods of rewriting history in the 1990s. Historical plays became dehistoricized with individual, everyday life, and faction emerging as major codes of historical plays according to mistrust in history and grand narrative as the original and disappearance of trust in the growth and totality of history. A new trend became dominant of presenting fictionality prominent instead of reproduction of history and freely playing with history outside the context. While modern historical plays were subject to the content of history, post-modern historical plays sought after new history writing to tell a new story on history within a framework of fiction. Focusing on some of the trends in post-modern historical plays since the 1990s, which include play with history, daily life-style history writing, and reproduction patterns of colonial modernity, this study examined the goals, representations, and text strategies of new history writing in three historical plays, Generation After Generation(2000) by Park Geunhyung, The Mercenaries(2000) by Park Sujin, and Chosun Detective Hong Yunshik(2007) by Sung Giwoong. In Generation After Generation, the author adopts a plot of starting with the present and tracing back to the past, breaking down the myth of racially homogeneous nation. At the same time, he discloses that the colonial history is not just by the oppressive force of Japan but also by the voluntary cooperation of Korean people. That is, we are also accountable for the colonial history of the nation. The Mercenaries contrasts the independence movement during the colonial period against the modern history developed after Liberation, thus highlighting the still continuing coloniality, namely post-colonial present. The past is presented as the "phantom of history" making its appearance according to the request of the present hoping for salvation. The author politicizes history and grants political wishes to history by summoning the history by personal memories such as fictional diaries and letters with Messiah-like images opposed to the present of collapse and catastrophe. In Chosun Detective Hong Yunshik, the author makes an attempt at the microscopic reproduction of daily life by approaching the 1930s as the modern period when capitalist daily life started to take root. The lists of signs comprising daily life in colonial Gyeongseong are divided between civilization and savagery and between modern and premodern. With the progress of narrative, however, they become mixed together and reversed in the representation system in which the latter overwhelms the former.



Supported by : 한국연구재단