Why Dynamic Classics Do Not Fit into the Frame of National Literatures: A Case Study on The Journey to the West

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningfagfællebedømt

We usually perceive literary classics as stable works with single authors, a precise date of publication and a clear nationality. I suggest understanding literary classics instead as what Roland Barthes would call dynamic texts that are comprised of their variations spanning centuries and ignoring the boundaries of national literatures. While traditional reception studies tend to evaluate variations of literary classics as confirmation of the extraordinary accomplishments of an alleged original, I deny the existence of an original and examine Korean variations of The Journey to the West from the 14th century to today as equally creative recombinations of certain elements that are affiliated with the narrative.
The Journey to the West, as one of the most popular classical narratives in East Asia, is traditionally identified with the Shidetang edition of the 100-chapter novel allegedly written by Wu Cheng’en at the end of the 16th century. In popular culture, though, the title is usually associated not with the 100-chapter novel but with various shorter retellings in which certain elements of The Journey to the West recur in ever new combination. To help visualize which of the elements of The Journey can be found in the variations, I make use of radial tree diagrams created with a PHP/JavaScript application. In my presentation I will leap from the established perception of The Journey to the West as static work to that of dynamic text and free the narrative from the frames of time and space.
StatusUdgivet - 2019
BegivenhedAssociation for Asian Studies Annual Conference 2019 - Denver, USA
Varighed: 21 mar. 201924 mar. 2019


KonferenceAssociation for Asian Studies Annual Conference 2019

ID: 208801062