Organized Panel Session
Amid a growing global interest in Korea, there is an increasing need to translate premodern Korea into forms accessible to the modern mind. Determined to illustrate both the charm and the specificity of Chosŏn Korea’s (1392–1910) writing culture and practice, often characterized by somewhat ambiguous and complicated registers of literary languages, audiences, and genres, this panel presents insightful and intriguing studies which navigate such themes as gender and subjectivity, narrative evolution, and the correlation between agency and power across different eras of Chosŏn.
Hyangsoon Yi discusses the evolution and multiplicity of the folk narrative of Master Chaun, a Buddhist nun and war hero during the Japanese Invasion (1592–98), in the context of shifting gender and postwar discourses. Sookja Cho analyzes 17th-century dream journey narratives, focusing on their capacity to convey messages and emotions in the diegetic world. Uliana Kobyakova scrutinizes the modes and characteristics of self-expression in female characters from 18th-19th century extended fiction. Finally, Hyejong Kang elucidates the social complexity and political dynamics of the 19th century political essay form called taech’aek.
These studies by four scholars with different areas of expertise contribute to a more nuanced understanding of premodern Korea, offering new knowledge and perspectives on the role and power of writing both in and outside of textual worlds. We hope that the intriguing discoveries of this panel will propel a rediscovery and reinterpretation of the value of premodern Korean writing practice to modern scholarship.