Chae Man-sik’s 『Tak-Ryu』(‘The Muddy Stream’, ‘濁流) is an argument-inducing work and also has great significance in the light of literary history. It had a representative position in the 1930s when the litarary circle at that time groped for the new possibility of the full-length novel.
In the mean time, there was a general tendancy of bisection which followed the binary critaria of ‘Realism’ and ‘Popularity’ in the literary estimation of 『Tak-Ryu』, But the complex aspects of this work were passed over in this binary estimation.
In the critical understanding of 『Tak-Ryu』, it is no use prescribing the characteristics of this work through simple concepts such as ‘the popular* or 'the tragic’. For it is the inclusiveness of these concepts to obscure inbetween elements and their variety. In fact, even the various aspects of so-called ‘Popularity, are conducive to representation of tragic view and sexualized Modernity, which the author intended to reveal in the work.
In this paper, I examined the tragic view and its limit, the essence of popularity, the aspects of the aesthetic distance immanent between ‘ther tragic’ and ‘the popular’, which Chae Man ― sik’s 『Tak-Ryu』 shows. As the author presents the tragedy of colonized reality at that time and his own tragic view, ‘popularity, is revealed to be the very effective means to accomplish this purpose. And also, as it provides the possibility of various interpretations, the problematics and literary significance which 『Tak-Ryu』 reveals, will be discussed richly through these possibilities.