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Dictee 1st Calif. pbk. ed Edition

4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520231122
ISBN-10: 0520231120
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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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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: 8 x 5.5 x 0.5 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: #313,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
In total ignorance, just happened upon "Dictee" at a local garage sale. Incredible blessed find! Beyond others' benedictions, only to note that the prose-poem aspects of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's writing offer IMHO a useful and liberating meditation on language and thought and the ever-shimmering hallucinogenic bond and border between them. A marvelous work.

If you're reading "Dictee" as an obligatory Asian lit assignment, you might pass through it in dismissive haste, like speeding through Mecca en route to a shopping spree in Abu Dhabi. Allow yourself time with Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.
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By Judy on February 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Dictee is a seminal work that has strongly influenced those poets lucky enough to have read it in the decades since it first appeared. It has had an underground reputation for decades, and now is beginning to be known to the mainstream. Yes, Dictee is rooted in the specifics of her family's immigrant experience, in the specifics of Korea and of America, in the specifics of gender, but it explodes across time, space and cultures, it transcends form, and ultimately it transforms the reader's consciousness of what can be done with writing and how you can perceive your life. I am tempted to say "if Cha had lived longer she would have been one of our major writers" but in fact she *is* one of the major writers of the second half of the 20th century, on the strength of this one work alone. I am delighted that Dictee is soon to appear in an addition with more of Cha's work.
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