During the seventeenth century, a surge in fictional stories ushered in an era of romance in Korean literature, and lovesickness became a topical motif. The prototype of the lovesick figure is detected in oral stories dealing with the lovesick snake (sangsa paem) in which a lovesick woman undergoes metamorphosis into a snake. This icon of the lovesick snake has endured and persisted in written and oral traditions. This research undertakes a careful investigation of this metaphor and its meanings in various textual and cultural contexts and further explores the complex relationship of the politics of female desire, death, and metamorphosis in diverse discourses. This study reveals how the grotesque, repulsive image of serpentine transformation creates a focus on horror, alienation, and victimhood in the representation of female lovesickness. Finally, con-structs of the lovesick snake are assessed and reconsidered to expose the relationship between popular discourse and written works, uncovering a literary tendency in androcentric writing practices to associate female lovesickness with sexual and erotic illness.
ASSESSMENT OF LOVESICKNESS
MEDICAL VIEWS OF FEMALE MALADY
THE EROTIC SNAKE REVISITED IN LITERATI WRITINGS