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The first book in the English language devoted to the study of Korean shaman songs, this book is essential reading for those with an interest in Korean shamanism, the literature and cultural history of Korea, and shamanism and oral literature in general. Shamanism, commonly regarded as the oldest religion in Korea, is still a force in the modern industrial society of today. Korean shamans, performing their rituals, sing and dance for the gods they worship as they have done for centuries.
Some of the songs - the muga - are simple invocations and prayers, others are narrative pieces explaining the origins of the various gods, which may take hours to sing in their entirety. In this study, after a brief general introduction to Korean shamanism, the ritual uses, transmission, style and contents of the songs are examined, so that their place among the other genres of traditional literature may be determined. The muga, as recorded in the 20th century, turn out to have close links with the vernacular literature such as poems, songs and tales that flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries. An awareness of this relationship is essential for a proper understanding of the songs, as part of the study of Korean shamanism. The book includes translations of several of the shorter songs and of two longer narrative muga, one of which describes important episodes in the life of the Korean shaman.
|I||The Mudang, their Rituals and their Gods||1|
|II||Muga and Muga Collections||15|
|III||The Transmission of the Songs||25|
|IV||The Interpretation of the Muga||43|
|V||Formal Characteristics of the Muga||57|
|VI||The Muga and Other Forms of Traditional Literature||93|
|VII||The Song of a Dutiful Daughter||121|
|VIII||A Song for the House God||143|
|IX||A Mudang Sings of Herself||201|
|X||Summary of Conclusions||221|