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In Search of Korean Traditional OperaDiscourses of Changguk$
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Andrew Killick

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832902

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832902.001.0001

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Stories and Themes

Stories and Themes

What Is Ch’anggŭk About?

(p.150) Chapter Six Stories and Themes
In Search of Korean Traditional Opera

Andrew Killick

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter interprets a selection of stories from the current ch'angguk repertory, including both traditional p'ansori stories and adaptations from other sources, as vehicles for particular themes and meanings. Applying a formalist model in which narrative structure is often reducible to the figure of a hero penetrating an alien territory, it finds that a significant number of stories presented in ch'angguk form celebrate not penetration but resistance to penetration, with bodily penetration possibly functioning as a metaphor for penetration of the nation by outside forces. Four classic p'ansori stories continue to form the mainstay of the ch'angguk repertory. They account for an overall majority of productions and each one is more frequently performed and attracts larger audiences than any newly composed ch'angguk opera. These are The Tale of Ch'unhyang (Ch'unhyangjon), The Tale of Sim Ch'ong (Sim Ch'ong-jon), The Tale of Hungbo (Hungbojon), and The Song of the Underwater Palace (Sugung-ga).

Keywords:   ch'angguk, Korean opera, p'ansori stories, epentration

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