London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Solitary Sage: The Profound Life, Wisdom and Legacy of Korea’s “Go-un” Choi Chi-won

Publisher: , 2016
Link to online store *

From the back cover:

The ‘Lonely Cloud Scholar’ Go-un Choi Chi-won (857 – ?) is one of Korea’s most interesting and iconic historical figures. He can be considered a sort of hero of traditional Korean culture, particularly its Daoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Following a remarkably successful career as a brilliant Confucian government official in Tang China and then back in his native Gyeongju, Choi is considered to be one of the few Koreans who ever achieved the highest level of Daoist sage-hood; he is thought by many to have achieved “spirit-immortal” status rather than dying. He is known to have left Chinese characters in his calligraphy carved on rocks, cliffs and stone steles in various places in the mountains as he wandered, and to have left a rich corpus of poetry, biographical and official essays that make him the “father of Korean literature.” It has been difficult for scholars to separate the folklore myths and legends about his life from the solid facts, and make a coherent story out of them. This book presents, in English for the first time, all that can be synthesized into a meaningful chronological order and critical evaluation about this great sage’s life and legacy; including a listing of nearly 100 associated tourist and cultural sites that exemplify it found around the Republic of Korea.

Now only available as a pdf eBook, from the author. LKL thinks its first edition (2015) was a printed copy (in fact we recall kicking ourselves for not buying one), so you may be able to find it second hand. But at the time of writing this entry none of the usual suppliers is listing it.

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.