Dictee (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
Dictee By Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Cover Image

Dictee (Paperback)


On Our Shelves Now
On hand as of Dec 3 9:20pm

Staff Reviews

Cha proved to me that the best books are those you may never fully understand. She presents us with a multi-genre classic that is incredibly moving despite (and maybe even because) of its incomprehensibility. Cathy Park Hong advised her students "to approach the book as if they're learning a new language." Intertwining the stories of the Greek muses, women martyrs, and Korean exiles and immigrants, Cha asks whether it is possible to transcend suffering -- and language itself -- in one of the most important works of American literature.

— From Shannon Rae

Newly restored, this version of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s masterpiece honors the author's original intentions and vision for the book. Originally published in 1982, Dictee is a classic of modern Asian American literature.

Dictee is the best-known work of the multidisciplinary Korean American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.

This restored edition, produced in partnership with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), reflects Cha’s original vision for the book as an art object in its authentic form, featuring:
  • The original cover
  • High-quality reproductions of the interior layout

Dictee tells the story of several women: the Korean revolutionary Yu Guan Soon, Joan of Arc, Demeter and Persephone, Cha’s mother Hyung Soon Huo (a Korean born in Manchuria to first-generation Korean exiles), and Cha herself.

This dynamic autobiography:
  • Structures the story in nine parts around the Greek Muses
  • Deploys a variety of texts, documents, images, and forms of address and inquiry
  • Links the women’s stories to explore the trauma of dislocation and the fragmentation of memory it causes

The result is an enduringly powerful, beautiful, unparalleled work.
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951–1982) was a poet, filmmaker, and artist who earned her BA and MA in comparative literature and her BA and MFA in art from the University of California, Berkeley.
Product Details ISBN: 9780520390485
ISBN-10: 0520390482
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: September 13th, 2022
Pages: 178
Language: English
"With the original cover and high-quality interior layout as Cha had designed them, this [restored edition] is the most aesthetically appealing edition of the five that have been produced."
— Asian Review of Books