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Dictee Paperback – September 28, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0520231122 ISBN-10: 0520231120 Edition: 1st Calif. pbk. ed

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 179 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st Calif. pbk. ed edition (September 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520231120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520231122
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's work of poetry Dictee has received due critical attention (most recently from poet Juliana Spahr), her artist's books and other art works are less well known. Dictee will be re-released this October, along with The Dream of the Audience, a book documenting a travelling exhibition dedicated to the Korean-American Cha (1951-1982). In addition to excellent reproductions of Cha's handbound texts and images from her performances, the book includes essays by Berkeley Art museum curator Constance Lewallen, Whitney Museum of American Art curator Lawrence Rinder and critic and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Reads like a secret dossier, stuffed with epistles and pictures, religion and dreams." -- Village Voice Literary Supplement

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Customer Reviews

Looking back through sections, it really does add up somehow, in a way beyond words (which is quite fitting).
towercity
Discovering what is hidden within Cha's deliberate chaos is like discovering the most sacred thoughts a woman possess.
Scribbling Ibis
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wishes to read something not following a cliched formula.
AshleyC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book baffles me but I can't help coming back to it time and again. It makes my brain turn flip-flops and, in doing so, realize faculties of thought, imagination and empathy that I never knew existed. Cha's work is amazing, original, extremely insightful and interesting, bleak, defiant. As college reading lists "discover" the works of Asian American women writers (many of whom, like Amy Tan, are immensely popular but regularly problematized by scholars in Asian American studies), Theresa Cha must not be overlooked or forgotten.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ken on May 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
The poet Charles Simic says, "Long drawn-out works conflict with the fragmentariness of our consciousness. What is recorded in a notebook is the sense of the unique and unrepeatable experience of the rare moments of clarity."
Dictee is this kind of book, a collection in nine parts of mixed writing styles including short passages in French and English, jounal entries, stories and dreams, even a handwritten letter. And more. Theresa Hak Cha's book, which has been callled both fiction and autobiography, also contains photographs, film stills, diagrams, and other black and white images. "Electic" only begins to describe the structure and style of Dictee.
Cha's writing doesn't come without risk--Dictee seems thematically and structurally difficult. But it's with this style, actually a process-of-writing style, that Cha shows us how her mind works. It's in her "fragmentariness" that elements of profound meaning rise to the surface, what Simic meant by "rare moments of clarity." Cha's imagination on the page, her explorations into language and poetic lyricism--with connections to nationalist and feminist themes--help us feel her genuine struggle with Korea as a victim of the Cold War. This message is her legacy; it's a kind of Presence in her writing. And we sense her triumph.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Linda L. Branch on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
The autobiographical work of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, "Dictee," is both a challenging and unique experience to read. Her provocative blend of prose, poetry, narrative and historical pieces, among other genres, reveal a voice that purposely avoids a "typical" patriarchial discourse that is refreshing although disarming. Her words, contextually somewhat difficult for the (this) reader not previously aware of the complexities and truths of Korean history (both in Korea and America), are at once powerful and insightful...poetic, yet raw. Cha is able to use her gift to offer a glimpse into one woman's history and journey; one that ended much too soon on this planet for this talented artist.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee is well crafted, yet difficult. It examines life experience from the perspective of Korean women.Poetry, narrative and other text structures are employed. Language is used forcefully and in thought provoking ways to build the unique form of this book. Dictee poses questions and provides a lens from which to view the Korean immigrant experience, as well as, the history of political struggle in Korea. Reading Dictee is a wothwhile experience that will expand a reader's vision.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rob Wilson on December 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
As occurs in other genres of 'ecriture feminine', this text experiments rather than controls. It is a dictee, but does not dictate.

Throughout Dictee, so unlike the narratives of domestic "realism" or poems of pastoral experience that continue dominate the American majority market not to mention the sterile formalism of deconstructive language writing, this other haunting the poem is primarily "the mother."

But this means dictations from the mother tongue all the more so, Korean writing and speaking as if displaced and spoken from afar in San Francisco and Honolulu or, worse, yet, New York City and Paris through the art worlds.

Korean, not French, not English. These others inhabiting the voice laden text of Dictee, as if dictating to and speaking through the self dispossessed narrator, are at first the Muses, but seemingly desiccated into an estranged cast of classical genres and sacred codes: Clio/History, Calliope/Epic Poetry, Urania/Astronomy, Melpomene/Tragedy, Erato/Love Poetry and so on.

This Greek cast records an estrangement, a fall into language and genre as other and later. Sappho, too, is invoked as a first mother, a muse, a poet of the sublime urging emulation, worship, but threatening uncanny (un-homely) disaster on the home-front of the poet's fragile one small- voiced life.

Lessons as "dictations" abound, as the force of language is instrumentalized and lost from godhead or feminine possession in childhood, as later brutally estranged from higher auspices or any pretense of truth: "The people of this country are less happy than the people of yours" (8), reads one glibly colonialist language lesson.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "slee23" on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book can be hard to follow at times; Cha uses mixed media to convey the very intracacies of her feelings on postcolonialism, postmodernism, language, and identity. There are French exercises, images of Joan of Arc (Dreyer's film version), an acupuncture chart, photocopied pages of letters--all interspersed throughout Cha's actual prose. This is an abstract piece, and I recommend "Writing Self, Writing Nation," the companion book with essays written by Asian American studies scholars to help guide you through it. "DICTEE" is an important work in Korean American literature, as it ascends from the normal prose and attempts to mediate the Korean American identity with text.
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