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Dictée is the best-known work of the versatile and important Korean American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. A classic work of autobiography that transcends the self, Dictée is the story of several women: the Korean revolutionary Yu Guan Soon, Joan of Arc, Demeter and Persephone, Cha's mother Hyung Soon Huo (a Korean born in Manchuria to first-generation Korean exiles), and Cha herself. The elements that unite these women are suffering and the transcendence of suffering. The book is divided into nine parts structured around the Greek Muses. Cha deploys a variety of texts, documents, images, and forms of address and inquiry to explore issues of dislocation and the fragmentation of memory. The result is a work of power, complexity, and enduring beauty.… (mais)
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Inspired me to do wider research into the various histories Cha alludes to; beautifully written.
  booms | Apr 9, 2021 |
Reading Dictee was an arresting experience and the parts where I got confused, overwhelmed, engrossed all felt phenomenologically similar to attempting to take in a scene in complete detail in a moment, sensory overload. And the parts of Korean history I learned or had forgotten were a poignant reminder of the resilience of its people.
  b.masonjudy | Apr 3, 2020 |
Composed by a young Korean-American performance artist who was killed far too early, this text brings together many of the pieces of her early visual and aural life. The reader is asked to follow the author's path in stitching together the sections in different languages and from different parts of her life: the religious stories that the Church tells her as a Catholic convert, the dictation that she must learn as a student under the teacher's watchful eyes, the stories of her family's coming to the United States, the words of many different immigrants scratched into the walls at Ellis Island where they are held. The book is hard to read, because Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's process of coming to America is hard and beset with all sorts of road blocks that she recreates here. If we have to stumble over language we cannot understand, it's because she had to do so in coming to the U.S. The images we can't readily identify show us how difficult it is to come to a new culture without an interpreter. ( )
1 vote heathrel | Dec 28, 2015 |
Needlessly complicated, this work tries diligently to transcend genre and linear trains of thought, but as a result becomes overtly abstract and difficult to follow. More of a collage than a coherent piece of literature, Dictee has interesting moments and movements....but, for this reader at least, it rang hollow and repetitive, more of an experiment than a completed work worth exploring and returning to. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Dec 5, 2010 |
The groundbreaking and ultimately powerful mixed-media prose-poetry work that explores the depths and transcendence of suffering, history, love and survival. Cha tells of Korea's troubled modern history and one of its martyrs, Yu Guan Soo, along with Joan of Arc, her own mother, and the pain and sacrifice (Catholic) of women who live in suffering. Structured around nine Greek heroines, representative of literary forms, Cha suffuses associative poetry, story narration, artwork, photography and calligraphy into a whole that instills tragedy, injustice, loss and silence, and raises questions about the lauded culture of martyrdom around suffering. Many will not find this easy to read, but it's an important literary work and essential reading for Korean American literary studies. ( )
  sungene | Jul 9, 2008 |
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Dictée is the best-known work of the versatile and important Korean American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. A classic work of autobiography that transcends the self, Dictée is the story of several women: the Korean revolutionary Yu Guan Soon, Joan of Arc, Demeter and Persephone, Cha's mother Hyung Soon Huo (a Korean born in Manchuria to first-generation Korean exiles), and Cha herself. The elements that unite these women are suffering and the transcendence of suffering. The book is divided into nine parts structured around the Greek Muses. Cha deploys a variety of texts, documents, images, and forms of address and inquiry to explore issues of dislocation and the fragmentation of memory. The result is a work of power, complexity, and enduring beauty.

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