Richard E. Kim's critically acclaimed best seller The Martyred (1964), an existential account of the Korean War told through the eyes of a South Korean officer, crafts highbrow literary aspirations from the politics of Cold War integration. Long unread by Asian America, its middlebrow dictates fasten to existential designs to fashion a singular fiction in which a proto-American subject emerges out of the hinterlands of the Cold War. The first part of the article explores the novel's central mystery of Christian martyrdom in the context of a modern history of religious revivals in Korea; the second turns to the politics of the skeptical figure of the protagonist. In transporting political interests into philosophical terms, The Martyred reveals an ongoing process by which Asians become Americans.
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