Korea-Vietnam 2022-2023 Speaker Series

Si in the East, Thi in the South (東詩, 詩南)

Vernacularizing Sinitic Poetry in Early Modern Korea and Vietnam

November 17, 2022, 6:00 PM, Los Angeles
Zoom Webinar

Presented by Ross King

Dr. Keith Taylor is Professor of Sino-Vietnamese Studies in the Asian Studies Department of Cornell University. He has published books and articles on Vietnamese history and literature. After serving with the US Army in Vietnam he completed his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan in 1976. He subsequently taught in Japan for three years, in Singapore for six years, and at Hope College for two years . He has been at Cornell since 1989. In recent years, his research interest has been oriented toward the early phase of writing Vietnamese poetry in demotic prosodic modes during the 16th and 17th centuries.
180921 Ross King-00019
Dr. Ross King is Professor of Korean at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the cultural and social history of language, writing, and literary culture in Korea and in the Sinographic Cosmopolis more broadly, with a particular interest in comparative histories of vernacularization. He serves as Editor-in-Chief of Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies.

University of British Columbia

Joined by Keith Taylor

Cornell University

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In this paper I make a preliminary and tentative attempt at comparing the ways in which vernacularized forms of Sinitic poetry (詩) were developed in Korea and Vietnam in the 17th-19th centuries. Taking my cue from Taylor (2008, 2020) and especially his consideration of “poems in demotic modes” and the quest for a “high-register vernacular voice,” I compare a range of hybridized and vernacularized forms of Sinitic poetry in Vietnam from the 16th and 17th centuries to analogous “irregular” or “anomalous” Sinitic poetry (soakpu 小樂府, kwach’esi 科體詩, pyŏnch’esi 變體詩, p’agyŏksi 破格詩, ŏnmun p’ungwŏl 諺文風月, yuktam p’ungwŏl 肉談風月, etc.) poems from late Chosŏn Korea and Korea’s Enlightenment Period (18th – early 20th centuries), as studied, for example, in Yi Kyuho (1986) and more recently in Pak Chongu (2009), Ku Sahoe (2015), and Sim Kyŏngho (2018). Questions addressed are the prosodic features of different types of vernacularized Sinitic poetry, the extent and varieties of vernacular accommodation, the extent to which the Korean examples sought to create a “vernacularized Sinitic voice,” and the fate of such poetry, both within contemporary generic hierarchies and in modern scholarship.