Organized Panel Session
This paper offers a close reading of the short story, “A Pitiful Grave” (Karyŏnhan punmyo), by Nak Chung Thun, who immigrated to the United States in his late twenties. Written in Korean, this tale of an ill-starred love follows the common narrative pattern of the early colonial Korean domestic novel, which typically revolves around a young woman’s Social Darwinian pursuit of modernity through her education, love marriage, and modern domesticity. At the same time, however, it recasts the Korean genre as a rare transpacific romance between culturally hybridized characters. Featured in its interracial love triangle are a sexually naïve Canadian woman who teaches at a missionary school in Shanghai, an indecisive British male diplomat who grew up in China, and a Chinese femme fatalewho was educated in the States and Switzerland. Profoundly shaped by their respective experiences of global migration, each of these characters disrupts the popular images of their ethnonationality. While analyzing this story in relation to Asian American history and Korean-American print culture, this paper examines the ways in which Thun’s diasporic narrative engages with the racial, ethnic, and sexual politics of his adopted country via the narrative form of the early colonial domestic novel.