This book examines developments in the early history of North Korean literature and literary policy, focusing on the period 1945–1960. Beginning as the “Soviet era,” this revolutionary epoch established a long-lasting framework for North Korean literature while also laying the foundation for an elaborate system of political control over literary matters and over the people who served in this field. In 1946 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea leader Kim Il Sung first described North Korean writers as “soldiers on the cultural front.” This book explores several interwoven processes in the transition from the Soviet era to the Korean version of “national Stalinism,” including the implantation of the Soviet-originating model of “socialist realism” into the Korean cultural soil, and how these and other developments influenced the lives and activities of three prominent literary figures: Cho Ki-ch'ŏn, Yi Ki-yŏng, and Yi T'ae-jun.
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