Skip to content Skip to navigation

Acoustic Imagination and Narrative Composition in Late Chosŏn Korea

Korean painting
April 24, 2018 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
East Asia Library, Room 224, 518 Memorial Way
Si Nae Park - Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University

Free and open to the public.  Please RSVP here.

About the talk:

This lecture examines the intersections of sound, acoustic imagination, and cultural production. Reading aloud and recitation of the classics and canon permeated society throughout Chosŏn Korea (1392-1910), but in late Chosŏn, fictional narratives inscribed in the vernacular Korean script emerged as a new dimension of vocalized books, to be heard and listened to in casual gatherings, private homes, and urban marketplaces in Seoul as a form of entertainment. Along with descriptions of people’s exposure to the sounds of vocalized storybooks, we find numerous instances where Chosŏn literati commented on Chinese vernacular fiction as a site of acoustic imagination. What were the diverse ways in which Chosŏn readers responded to fiction as actual and imagined acoustic entertainment? Did sound and acoustic imagination serve as a formative influence in the way people wrote? Foregrounding sites of acoustic imagination, this lecture proposes that late Chosŏn Korea was a particularly ripe period for self-conscious experimentation with Literary Sinitic in the exploration of new possibilities for vernacular inscription in narrative composition.

About the speaker:

Si Nae Park is Assistant professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. As a pre-20th-century Korean literature specialist, she is interested in topics such as the forging of vernacular identity through inscription of time, place, and language, the history of the book, of writing, and of reading, and literary representations of Seoul in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She has co-edited Score One for the Dancing Girl, and Other Selections from the Kimun ch’onghwa and is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Stories in Our Time, In Our Language: The Rise of the Vernacular Story in Late Chosŏn Korea.

Free and open to the public.  Please RSVP here.

Event Sponsor: 
History Department, Center for East Asian Studies, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: