Leaves of regret, flowers of gloom: Mourning ghosts and crafting a theater of han in the dream journey narrative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article scrutinizes the representation of gender and war experiences in seventeenth-century mongyurok (records of a dreamer's journey), addressing in particular their contribution to a widening of the Korean literary landscape and writing practice of the time. These tales liberated the suppressed voices of war victims, weaving their individual pain and loss into a broader discourse on war, rife with trenchant criticism of those responsible. The article investigates how the dream journey records succeed in drawing such powerful public messages from personal experiences and thus evolve into a strongly critical narrative and a collective releasing of han (grudge). Focusing on female revenants and their mode of storytelling in the Kangdo mongyurok ( Record of a Dreamer's Journey to Kangdo), the article demonstrates how narrative elements, particularly the evocation of sound and the interplay of different ontological realms, foster both social criticism and individual han-releasing. The theatricality of ghostly sounds and performances in the narrative transforms a dismal (post)war reality into an auditorium for voices offering change and healing to both the dead and the living. This powerful storytelling invigorated mimetic interest and provided viable supernatural metanarratives, driving literary evolution forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-34
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Korean Studies
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • Dream journey
  • Ghosts
  • Han
  • Kangdo mongyurok
  • Mongyurok
  • Sound
  • Theatricality
  • War narratives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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