by Christina Han, Wing S. Chu
Publication Date: Dec 2016
Hardcover: 148 pages
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This book is a translation and study of the poetry of the ninth-century Korean literary icon Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn, who has long been celebrated as the founding father of classical literature in Korea. Ch’oe’s literary legacy was characterized by his ability to cross both cultural and ideological boundaries.
Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn was a versatile author who produced writings of many forms about a variety of subjects. His career as a civil official demanded composition of administrative and political writings, including memorials, reports and letters. Following his retirement, he concentrated his energy on religious pursuits, and wrote extensively on Buddhist subjects, particularly biographies
of renowned Silla Buddhist masters. From these official and religious writings we get a glimpse of the society and culture in which Ch’oe’s life unfolded. But it is in his poetry that we encounter the person Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn, his hopes and dreams, his joys and sorrows, his social activities and innermost thoughts. In order to sketch Ch’oe’s changing life and person, in this chapter we will trace his poetic footprints by looking at some of the general themes that appear in his poetry.
Christina Han is Assistant Professorof Asian History at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford, Canada. She has published widely on cultural and intellectual history of pre-modern Korea and China. Her publications on pre-modern Korean literature include “Between Poetry and Philosophy: The Neo-Confucian Hermeneutics of Zhu Xi’s Nine Bends Poem” (Asian Philosophy, 2013) and “Twenty-Four Poems by Chŏng Chisang (co-authored with Wing S. Chu)” (Acta Koreana, 2013).
Wing S. Chu is a translator of Chinese Literature. Chu studied in the Translation Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and received an MA in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto, Canada. Before becoming a translator and researcher of literature in classical Chinese, Chu received an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and had a long career as a Certified Professional Accountant. He is the co-author of the article, “Twenty-Four Poems by Chŏng