[KS] Jim Palais

David McCann dmccann at fas.harvard.edu
Tue Aug 15 08:21:42 EDT 2006

Dear List,

The reflections on Jim Palais' life, his teaching and research, wit and 
wisdom, the high standards and the direct address with which he pursued 
them, remind me of Jim, of course, and my own encounters with him: New 
York a million years ago on the SSRC/ACLS Joint committee on Korean 
Studies; another extended moment back in 1974 at Washington, when he had 
arranged for me to stop in, on my way back from field research in Korea, 
and all I could talk about was prosodic analysis on pre-modern verse, 
much to his dismay, I think, though he showed it only by asking if I 
could say something,anything, about the current political scene; and 
most recently, but a while ago now, in Hawaii, in a gathering at the 
pleasant AAS hotel bar, where he and Jane joined a bunch of 
"Koreanists."  His grin, his quick look, that turn in his voice as he 
might say, "Now Dave, here on this thing about..."

I feel lucky to have known him, and gladdened to read the words of 
others, his students, his colleagues.  And it brings me to remember Ed 
Wagner, and also, curiously, Kim Pyôngsôp, my drum teacher back in the 
1970's.  Mr. Kim had a circle of students, in those days, which included 
Rob Provine, and I remember when Rob was giving a lecture-demonstration 
at Cornell, some time later, after Mr.Kim had died, I was startled at 
the finish of certain of the dance lines in the drum-dance to see, in 
Rob's gesture, the angle of the sticks, the tilt of the head, and the 
bright smile, our teacher there with us again.

If I ever do have days with better moments, it is when such a teacher is 
with me for that moment.

David McCann

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