By now, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s DICTEE has become a postmodern classic. What makes DICTEE idiosyncratic, unforgettable,is its variance, its slipperiness. Dictee is the best-known work of the versatile and important artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (). A classic work of autobiography that transcends the self . Best Book of Dictee by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Eleanor Chandler. ‘It murmurs inside. It murmurs. Inside is the pain of speech the pain to.

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A visual arts approach to Dicteehowever, suggests that the subject of Dictee chooses her own community, thus restoring the primacy of the individual. I’m caught between complete confusion and a little unsettled.

Dictee has an unorthodox structure, and consists of descriptions of the struggle to speak, uncaptioned photographs, tellings of the lives of saints and patriots, and mysterious letters that seem not to relate to the other material.

The opening paragraphs are written as if they were seen on screen, with a description of the variety of shots.

And I could call the genre or not. The creativity element allowed me to disregard the difficulty and appreciate the text as more of an art form.

Dictee – Theresa Hak Kyung Cha – Google Books

At times, the text acts as both prose and poetry; its liminality becomes interwoven into a book that functions like the structuralist films [1] Cha was influenced by. Dec 29, Carolyn Hembree rated it it was amazing. I still don’t know what to think. I’m sure I haven’t read it because I’ve tried several times unsuccessfully in the past to read it.

That’s how I find the books I want to read. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is to write from the fringe – and experimental female writers were, unfortunately, a fringe for much of the century – and the argument that mistakes and quirks and fractures resist order and carry revolutionary potential is very smart.


This way of writing causes readers to think about the arbitrary on language and writing, bringing our a question on the social requirements of good speech and correct grammar. So what I should write in this review is what I thought of this book, right. Their image, the memory of them is not given to deterioration, unlike the captured image that extracts from the soul precisely by reproducing, multiplying itself.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Either Theresa Hak Jyung Cha has written a book of gibberish — narrative, poetry, movie stills, personal documents, family photos, Japanese characters, Korean history, Greek mythology, all intermixed, their correlation unexplained — or she has written a book so profound it defies human interpretation.

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Literature and Politics in Asian America. References to this book Woman, Native, Other: The accusation against the USA is a debatable point, but Dictee is not the source of this argument, merely the occasion.

Aug 26, Kate Savage rated it liked it. One day you raise your right hand and you are American. It left me wanting to read this book that clearly contained levels I was not able to access in a first reading. The French influence on Korea is invisible, for it was negligible at best. The marrow of the matter is we cannot argue into oblivion death.

Hybridity before it was the thing — told me I could define what to put in my manuscript. The book is also about Korea’s struggle for independence, recounting the story of young Korean woman’s brief life as a revolutionary. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

Maybe later I’ll come back dicyee fix this review. U of California P, I see myself rejecting the exigencies of tact, universality, and New Critcism, for to discuss that line comprising Dictee and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha one needs a haunting and a hell to pay that neither commercializes for profit nor solipsizes into ivory tower onanism can convey.

The book as a whole seeks to compose a community out of diverse individuals and an individual who contains the experiences of others inside her.


Part poetry, biography, and history rewritten, it is a beautiful and misunderstood work. Those sections sung, and it was a challenge not to skim through the murk to get vha them.

Does it suggest the inability of words to capture the raw dctee of this scene? The best example of this: Queen Min was actually assassinated in This is undoubtedly an important aspect of the book. I just mentioned it today, which reminded me to post.

The image that ends the chapter exemplifies the manner in which Dictee exposes our desire to impose a narrative form on historical events Fig. This book is amazingly difficult; I threw it across the room after ten pages. Inside is the pain of speech the pain to say. Dictee is organized into nine parts, a structure that arises from the nine Greek muses. The Body of Writing: Again, language is key as the Japanese forbid Koreans to speak their language.

Her own is, in, of, through, all others, hers. The Melancholy of Race. The book is, about other things, her struggle with identity as a Korean-American. In my own view, the subject of Dictee refuses assimilation into pre-existing categories and insists on recognition of her individuality. Views Read Edit View history. Selected pages Title Cba. Retrieved 25 February Paperbackpages.

Her life was cut tragically short when, injust a few days after the publication of Dicteeshe was raped and murdered by a stranger in New Dha City.

The second part of the book becomes increasingly fragmented, studying unnamed women in cinema, St. Problem is, I don’t know what to think. Reader participation in meaning construction is, of course, true of all texts but is emphatically true of Dictee.