4 – 5:30PM
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
East Asia Colloquium Series – The Observable Mundane: The Reception of Chinese Vernacular Narrative in Korea and Japan
Emanuel Pastreich, Director of the Asia Institute; Associate Professor of Humanities, Humanitas College at Kyung Hee University
This talk covers the remarkable impact of Chinese vernacular narratives on literary practice in Korea and Japan (17th-19th centuries). Chinese vernacular had a unique role in Korea and Japan as a language that partook of the authority of the Chinese tradition, but that also described the most quotidian aspects of daily life and employed extremely vernacular expressions. For this reason, Chinese vernacular literature suggested to readers in Korea and Japan that vernacular narrative, not only Chinese, but also indigenous, could also be considered as literature and taken seriously as a means of expression for intellectuals.
At the same time, a richer and more literary narrative tradition emerged in both Korea and Japan which was deeply influenced by Chinese vernacular narrative and would eventually serve as the basis for the narrative language of modern literature.
Reception was quite different, however, between the two countries. In Korea, many of the vernacular narratives were circulated in vernacular translations transcribed by hand and circulated largely by women. In Japan, by contrast, there was a broad fascination with Chinese vernacular literature which inspired a radical revaluation of the Japanese canon itself. Chinese novels and their translated were translated and widely circulated.
For more information about Professor Pastreich, please visit: http://www.asia-institute.org/members/