Encounter: A Novel of Nineteenth-Century Korea Ebook

, Ok Young Kim Chang
Publication: University of California Press
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Language: English
Publication Date: October 1992
File Size: 16722 Kbytes

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ISBN: 9780520911086   Should I buy this Ebook?   Write a Review


This historical novel, Encounter (_ Mannam_ ), by Hahn Moo-Sook, one of Asia’s most honored writers, is a story of the resilience in the Korean spirit. It is told through the experiences of Tasan, a high-ranking official and foremost Neo-Confucian scholar at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Because of Tasan’s fascination with Western learning, then synonymous with Catholicism, he is exiled to a remote province for 18 years. In banishment he meets people from various social and religious backgrounds-Buddhist monks, peasants, shamans-whom he would not otherwise have met. The events of Tasan’s life are effectively used to depict the confluence of Buddhist, Neo-Confucian, Taoist, and shamanistic beliefs in traditional Korea.

A subplot involves three young sisters, the daughters of a prominent Catholic aristocrat, and affords the reader vivid glimpses into Yi-dynasty women’s lives, particularly those of palace ladies, scholars’ wives, tavern keepers, shamans, and slaves. In contrast to the long-held Confucian stereotype of female subservience, this story illustrates the richness of women’s contribution to Korean culture and tradition.

Encounter’ s detailed narrative provides a broad and informed view of nineteenth-century Korea, making it a highly useful book for courses on Korean literature and society. It will also be an engaging read for lovers of historical fiction.


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Encounter: A Novel of Nineteenth-Century Korea