Deconstruction of Ideological Discourses: Ch’oe Inhun’s Sŏyugi (The Journey to the West, 西遊記) as a Parody of Xiyouji (The Journey to the West, 西遊記).

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In the academic realm, the title The Journey to the West is generally identified with the Shidetang edition of the 100-chapter novel allegedly written by Wu Cheng’en in the Ming Dynasty at the end of the 16th century. In Korea, though, the title is generally associated not with the 100-chapter novel but with various shorter retellings, which tend to highlight the fantastic and adventurous facets of the story. For this reason, many scholars have assumed that Ch’oe Inhun’s Sŏyugi, written between 1966 and 1971, is a parody of these overwhelmingly popular retellings, when in fact the author is parodying the complex 100-chapter novel. Much of the scholarly analysis of Sŏyugi focuses on reading Ch’oe Inhun’s novel against the politically charged background of 1960s Korea. By undertaking a close comparison of Sŏyugi and the 100-chapter novel, I argue that such a spatiotemporal frame is too narrow. Unlike other retellings of The Journey to the West, Sŏyugi does not merely share characters or artistic motivations with the original text, but also makes use of parallels on the structural and stylistic level, and these have generally been neglected in other studies. Sŏyugi demonstrates how ideological debates can be reduced to relative truths through its parody of the many voices and perspectives present in The Journey to the West.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Koreana
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)281-306
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2017

ID: 183382450