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Sijo, Korea's contribution to world

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By Mark Peterson

Sijo, the famous Korean, three-line, short poetic form, should be understood in a cross-cultural perspective. As the frog outside the well ― that is as a non-Korean Koreanologist ― I see sijo differently than most Koreans, and the view I have is that sijo is one of Korea's best contributions to world literature.

When I first began teaching Korean Studies at Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1984, I came into a humanities building that held paintings featuring examples of world literature in the main hallway. There were two framed paintings for each piece of literature ― one was a scene from a story and one was an explanation that described the work and its author.

There were, among others, "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo, "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare, "The Divine Comedy (Inferno)" by Dante, "Don Quixote" by Cervantes, "Faust" by Goethe, "War and Peace" by Tolstoy, "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevski, "The Odyssey" by Homer, "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, "Tale of Genji" by Murasaki Shikibu and "The Dream of the Red Chamber" by Cao Xueqin.

The Chinese selection was interesting because there were four........

© The Korea Times