[Feature] Literariness and the Commons / Hwang Jung-a

The Quarterly Changbi 180, Summer 2018



The common resources postulated in the theory of the Commons are often regarded as something exhaustible, if shared or consumed by too many people, but the feature of the current issue, “Literature, the Commons”, demonstrates that it is not always the case. It is because literature as the commons maintains itself and makes progress only through people’s creative participation and efforts to heighten values in our lives. Hwang Jung-a diagnoses that the current situation surrounding the field of literature seems almost paradoxical, in that the public values of literature are more emphasized than before, and yet the condemnation of the whole literary field is getting so rampant at the same time. So, this situation requires us to pose the questions of the nature of sharing, creativity, and values peculiar to literature. Admitting the literary egalitarianism providing opportunities to everyone to speak whatever they like in any way they want is considered to be an essential aspect of literature as the commons, she argues, the unconditional assertion or enjoyment of share itself does not belong to the true characteristics of literature. She argues that literature, the commons, in the fundamental sense of the word, exists neither as mine, nor as everyone’s; it is there only through “commoning”, by creating new values together. Her argument could provide an central insight to the discussion of the commons as a current social movement, as well as that of the political nature of literature.