Item ID: 9573 Dictee. Theresa Hak Kyung CHA.


Many black & white illus. 5 p.l., 179 pp. & Notes. 8vo, crimson pictorial softcover, title on spine. New York: Tanam Press, 1983.

First edition, second printing (1st printing: 1982) of Cha’s Dictee. “Published in 1982 by the now defunct Tanam Press, Dictee is about mothers and martyrs, revolutionaries and uprisings. Divided into nine chapters named after the Greek muses, Dictee documents the violence of Korean history through the personal stories of Cha’s mother and the seventeen-year-old martyr Yu Guan Soon, who led the protest against the Japanese occupation of Korea and then died from being tortured by Japanese soldiers in prison. In other chapters, Cha invokes Joan of Arc but as a character recreated by other women, such as the French nun Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

“Cha avoids traditional storytelling in favor of a structure that I can only describe as a script for a structuralist film. Scenes are described as stage directions. Poems are laid out like intertitles. Film stills are interspersed with blank pages that are meant to look like a refulgent white film screen. Cha doesn’t ever direct your reading of Dictee. She refuses to translate the French or contextualize a letter by former South Korean leader Syngman Rhee to Franklin D. Roosevelt or caption the photo of French actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti in Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. The reader is a detective, puzzling out her own connections.”–Cathy Park Hong, “Portrait of an Artist,” Minor Feelings (2020), p. 154.

In near fine condition.

Price: $195.00

Item ID: 9573