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Thailand Reading Events

 The National Epic of the Ramakien The National Epic of the Ramakien

1:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012
Phelps Theater in Beimdiek Recreation Center
Admission: free

Derived from a centuries-old epic from India, the Ramayana, Thailand's national epic takes the essential story line and many elements from the original Hindu tale and makes them particularly Thai, reflecting the unique cultural context, perception of the monarchy, and Buddhist emphasis. The tale traces the adventures of a king and his allies as they struggle against their foes. The legend features a monstrous villain, a trickster monkey, and other intriguing characters, some of whom are based on divine figures. Early writings of the Thai story were destroyed in the 18th century, but a version written by a king of the time is the currently accepted form. Fascinating illustrations on temple walls convey significant scenes from the legend. Along with examples of the artwork, this session will include readings from the Ramakien, provided by faculty in Missouri Southern's English department.

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 Tales of the Buddha Tales of the Buddha

1:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Phelps Theater in Beimdiek Recreation Center
Admission: free

Although evidence of Thai literature in written form extends back only to the 13th century, many stories date from centuries earlier. Among the most influential on Thai culture are the tales of the Buddha, which arose in ancient times and trace the Buddha's many previous lives. Ten of the stories, called the Jataka tales, are especially significant and praise important virtues. Pictures of the tales appear on temple walls in Thailand and add a stunning element to the impact of the literature. The readings in this session, given by faculty from Missouri Southern's English department, will present examples of the tales and the artwork.

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 Modern Thai Literature Modern Thai Literature

11:00 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012
Phelps Theater in Beimdiek Recreation Center
Admission: free

The many changes Thailand has experienced in the modern period, such as economic, political, technological, and social developments, have been reflected in the literary works as well as daily life. Topics addressed and approaches followed by contemporary writers are richly varied in the many compelling texts of recent decades, touching on such timely issues as class struggles, relationships among generations, and economic pressures, as well as more traditional themes. This session will feature readings from both poetry and fiction to present a glimpse of the concerns and techniques that Thai literature offers. The readings will be presented by faculty from the English department of Missouri Southern.

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