Materiality and Writing: Circulation of Texts, Reading and Reception, and Production of Literature in Late 18th-century Korea
Access StatusFull text of the requested work is not available in DASH at this time ("dark deposit"). For more information on dark deposits, see our FAQ.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationYoo, Jungmin. 2014. Materiality and Writing: Circulation of Texts, Reading and Reception, and Production of Literature in Late 18th-century Korea. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis study explores the literature of late Choson in its material context, examining how the physical aspects of the production and circulation of texts impacted the practice of writing. By analyzing various travelogues from Beijing (yonhaengnok) and private collections (munjip) from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century, I examine how transcultural contacts across borders and changing textual environments influenced intellectual circles and literary trends in late Choson Korea.
Interpreting the literary text as the material product of a culture, my study shifts the emphasis from the author as the creator of a text to the editors, publishers, collectors, and readers, through whose hands a text is reshaped and given new meaning. In light of the concept of social authorship, the written culture of late Choson will be revisited in relation to complex networks of social interactions. The print and manuscript culture of the day, socio-political groups that the author belonged to, the book market, and the government policies of that time provide interesting information on the practices of literary production, based on the larger cultural dynamics of East Asia.
This dissertation revolves around a series of questions about circulation networks and their impact. In regard to the social and cultural condition of literary production in the eighteenth century, I examine transnational interactions with foreign intellectuals as well as collective coterie activities of reading and writing among the literati in Seoul. How did the flourishing of print culture of the Jiangnan area and the book markets in Beijing change the textual dynamics of Korea? Did the government censorship carried out by the Qing and the Choson governments effectively control the circulation of books? How did the Choson literati consume the foreign books and why did they form so many literary communities in Seoul? By investigating the large scope of these textual situations, I explore how the transcultural contacts "across borders" and the changing textual environments influenced intellectual circles and literary trends in late Choson.
With respect to textual dynamics, I emphasize the various "informal networks" that have been placed at the center of book reception and consumption. For example, a number of book brokers in the Qing and Choson facilitated the distribution of books, and the sharing of manuscripts among friends in literary coteries was influential in the shaping of new literary tastes and public culture. These unconventional routes outside of established channels functioned as the actual key drivers of book culture in late Choson. My argument throughout this dissertation is that "informal circulation" is a central, rather than marginal, feature of eighteenth-century book culture and literary production.
Through a specific case study of a literatus-official, Yi Tong-mu (1741-1793), my dissertation addresses these issues in three parts that consist of seven chapters: (1) Part One, "Social Authorship and Manuscript Production," examines how the writings of Yi Tong-mu were constructed and transmitted through a complex of social interactions and how the physical aspects of texts inform various transactions of human and non-human agencies in the production of texts. (2) Part Two, "The Location of Texts: Circulation of Books, Censorship, and Community Activities" traces how social networks among the domestic literati as well as among foreign intellectuals facilitated the circulation of books. First, I examine the large scope of transnational interaction between China and Korea, and the literary inquisition carried out by the Choson government in response to the changing textual environment. This is followed by a discussion of the poetry communities in Seoul, in which the Choson literati shared their reading practices and produced their common aesthetic tastes in their writings. (3) Part Three, "Making Meaning: Reading Self and Social Discourses," examines how Yi Tong-mu read books from the Ming and the Qing--such as those by Yuan Hongdao of the Ming and Wang Shizhen of the Qing--and wrote his own poetry and literary criticism and embodied his interpretive activities in his own works.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13065154
- FAS Theses and Dissertations