[KS] Jim Palais
dmccann at fas.harvard.edu
Tue Aug 15 08:21:42 EDT 2006
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.
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