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This chapter examines colonial-era debates over the shifting location of Korean literature, which emerged in response to contradictory demands on colonial culture within the Japanese empire. The spectre of the absent nation is palpable in these and other cultural debates at this time, and rather than revert to a facile dismissal of the concept of the nation as an imagined community, this chapter interrogates inherited and constructed categories of the nation and its narration, and the tenacity of the desire for such bounded categories, as precisely the paradox of the colonial modern condition. The chapter further frames these forgotten but significant past contentions over the definitions of colonial, national, and world literatures, around the contemporary rise of a long overdue intra-Asian dialogue about such convergences of cultures from the colonial era and their legacies.

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