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Sea Jeongju"s Philosophy of Poetry and the Characteristics of Femininity

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    Women are an important subject matter in S대 Jeongju"s poetry. In his well-known poems such as 〈Flower snake〈Hwasa)〉, 〈Broad daylight(Daenat)〉, and 〈Summer of barley(Maekha)〉 women are represented as a sensual and physical being which invokes sexual desire, whereas in 〈Cotton flower(mokhwa)〉, 〈My elder sister"s home(Nunim ui jip)〉, and 〈Beside a chrysanthemum(Gukhwa yeop eseo〉 as a spiritual and eternal being devoid of the flesh. These two contrasted way of imaging women is to mystify women two different ways by putting them in the dichotomy of the sacred and the secular, and the saint and the harlot. The mere use of woman as a subject matter, however, does not suffice for discussing femininity in poetry. What matter are what the poet"s psychological motive in choosing it as a subject matter is, and how it is transformed in poems. Femininity in poetry plays an important part in our probing into a poet"s world view and his or her philosophy of poetry. In this paper I intend to {robe into the attributes of femininity in Seo"s poetry and to prove them closely related with a philosophy that peotry is a product of intuition. What I try to shed new light on here is the heroic character the females in Seo"s peoms have. Seo"s peotry, as product of his intuition, is basically inclined towards the world prior to the rational order. Intuition and sentiment, contrasted with reason and logicality, are attributed to feminine paradigm and the fact Seo"s poetry is based on them proves that his poems begin with femininity. The women in Seo"s poems have extraordinariness comparable to heroic characteristics. Such poetic characters as Queen Seondeok, Saso, Lady Suro are noble ones with mystic power, In 〈Jilmajae myth(Jilmajae sinhwa〉, however, the extraordinary women are transformed into usual everyday people. They use their power for realistic and everyday tasks. Their ability to communicate with the nature makes them unusual, and it is the spacial peculiarity of Jilmajae that gives the women the power. Jilmajae is extraordinary space devoid of the order of reason, and it belongs to the world of intuition and sentiment that Seo"s poems are directed to. Seo, writing poems from intuition, stands against the viewpoint that the poetry is a product of cognition. In his view, a poem is created when one dissociates oneself from (masculine) system and norm and accepts the feminine position of transgression and periphery. It is to follow the irrational physical senses rather than the rational order, and to choose intuition and instinct over logic and analysis, the latter falling in the established masculine paradigm and the former in an emerging feminine one. Since Seo"s poems are written within the feminine paradigm, they inherently have femininity. Seo"s poetry is directed toward the world before the symbolic system Sound aspect of language is more stressed than fixed meaning, and language plays the role of conveying the poet"s feeling and exclamation to the readers. In other words, descriptive(ecriture) aspect is emphasized over nonnative aspect, To follow the grammar of a language means to accept and conform to the established norms. In this light Soe"s poetic language can be said to point relatively to the feminine world It is how the natural rhythm of his poems are acquired. Prosaic poems in 〈Jilnajae myth〉 are intended for feminine writing. Their prosaic style, instead of following the poetic norms like line or stanza, follows the way of warren"s peculiar discourse usually found in chatters, letters or monologues. Seo"s poetic language deserves reconsideration in this regard.


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