London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Korean Women Philosophers and the Ideal of a Female Sage: Essential Writings of Im Yungjidang and Gang Jeongildang

Korean Women Philosophers and the Ideal of a Female Sage introduces the lives and ideas of two female Korean Confucian philosophers from the late Joseon Dynasty (18th-19th century), Im Yunjidang (1721-1793) and Gang Jeongildang (1772-1832), examining how their writings contribute to contemporary philosophical inquiry. Both philosophers are known for arguing that women are as capable as … [Read More]

A Korean Confucian’s Advice on How to Be Moral: Tasan Chŏng Yagyong’s Reading of the Zhongyong

Tasan Chŏng Yagyong (1762–1836) is one of the most creative thinkers Korea has ever produced, one of the country’s first Christians, and a leading scholar in Confucian philosophy. Born in a staunchly Neo-Confucian society, in his early twenties he encountered writings by Catholic missionaries in China and was fascinated. However, when he later learned that … [Read More]

The Master from Mountains and Fields: Prose Writings of Hwadam, Sŏ Kyŏngdŏk

The Master from Mountains and Fields is a fully annotated translation of the prose texts from the “collected works” of Sŏ Kyŏngdŏk (1489–1546), an influential Confucian scholar from the early Chosŏn period (1392-1910). A native of Songdo (also known as Kaesŏng) in present-day North Korea, Sŏ has loomed large in the Korean cultural imagination and appeared … [Read More]

Confucian Reform in Chosun Korea: Yu Hyŏngwŏn’s Pan’gye surok

Pan’gye surok (or “Pan’gye’s Random Jottings”) was written by the Korean scholar and social critic Yu Hyŏngwŏn (1622-1673), who proposed to reform the Joseon dynasty and realise an ideal Confucian society. It was recognised as a leading work of political science by Yu’s contemporaries and continues to be a key text in understanding the intellectual culture … [Read More]

The Moral and Religious Thought of Yi Hwang (Toegye): A Study of Korean Neo-Confucian Ethics and Spirituality

From the publisher’s website: This book presents Yi Hwang (1501–1570)—better known by his pen name, Toegye—Korea’s most eminent Confucian philosopher. It is a pioneering study of Toegye’s moral and religious thought that discusses his holistic ideas and experiences as a scholar, thinker, and spiritual practitioner, thereby deepening or enriching our modern understanding of Confucianism as … [Read More]

Neo-Confucianism and Science in Korea: Humanity and Nature, 1706-1814

Historians of late premodern Korea have tended to regard it as a hermit kingdom, isolated from its neighbours and the wider world. In fact, as Ro argues in this book, Korean intellectuals were heavily influenced by both Chinese Neo-Confucianism and the European Enlightenment in the late 18th and 19th centuries. In the late Choson period … [Read More]

The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea: The Chonon (Testament) by Chong Chedu (Hagok)

From the publisher’s website: Translated, edited, and introduced by Edward Y. J. Chung, The Great Synthesis of Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism in Korea: The Chonŏn (Testament) by Chŏng Chedu (Hagok), is the first study in a Western language of Chŏng Chedu (Hagok, 1649–1736) and Korean Wang Yangming Neo-Confucianism. Hagok was an eminent philosopher who established the unorthodox Yangming school … [Read More]

Religions of Old Korea

From the publisher’s website: This book, first published in 1932, was written by a Western expert on Korea, and was the first to thoroughly investigate and document the old religious practices of Korea. No book like this could be written again from original sources, for all of the data has passed away, and archival records … [Read More]

King Chŏngjo, an Enlightened Despot in Early Modern Korea

The first detailed analysis in English of monarchy and governance in Korea during King Chŏngjo’s reign. Were the countries of Europe the only ones that were “early modern”? Was Asia’s early modernity cut short by colonialism? Scholars examining early modern Eurasia have not yet fully explored the relationships between absolute rule and political modernization in … [Read More]

Korean Confucianism: The Philosophy and Politics of Toegye and Yulgok

From the publisher’s website: This book explores Neo-Confucianism and its relationship to politics by examining the life and work of the two iconic figures of the Joseon dynasty Yi Hwang (1501-1570, Toegye) and Yi I (1536-1584, Yulgok). Neo-Confucianism became state orthodoxy in 1392, and remained in place for over five centuries until the end of … [Read More]

Buddhas and Ancestors: Religion and Wealth in Fourteenth-Century Korea

Publisher description: Two issues central to the transition from the Koryo to the Choson dynasty in fourteenth-century Korea were social differences in ruling elites and the decline of Buddhism, which had been the state religion. In this revisionist history, Juhn Ahn challenges the long-accepted Confucian critique that Buddhism had become so powerful and corrupt that … [Read More]

Three Streams: Confucian Reflections on Learning and the Moral Heart-Mind in China, Korea, and Japan

From the publisher’s website: Recent interest in Confucianism has a tendency to suffer from essentialism and idealism, manifested in a variety of ways. One example is to think of Confucianism in terms of the views attributed to one representative of the tradition, such as Kongzi (Confucius) (551-479 BCE) or Mengzi (Mencius) (372 – 289 BCE) … [Read More]

Korean Religions in Relation: Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity

From the publisher’s website: Examines Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity in Korea, focusing on their mutual accommodation, exclusion, conflict, and assimilation. Instead of simply being another survey of the three dominant religions in contemporary Korea—Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity—this unique book studies them in relation to each other in terms of assimilation, accommodation, conflict, and exclusion. The … [Read More]

The Analects of Dasan – A Korean Syncretic Reading (four volumes)

From the publisher’s website: With extensive research and creative interpretations, Dasan’s Noneo gogeum ju (Old and New Commentaries of the Analects) has been evaluated in the academia of Korean Studies as a crystallization of his studies on the Confucian classics. Dasan (Jeong Yak-yong: 1762-1836) attempted through this book to synthesize and overcome the lengthy scholarly tradition of … [Read More]

Neo-Confucianism in Korea

From the publisher’s website: Chinese and Japanese Neo-Confucius scholars have traditionally claimed that Korean Neo-Confucianism was an imitation of Chinese Neo-Confucianism, a belief which was generally accepted by Western scholars. Now, this book edited from the theses of representative Korean Neo-Confucius scholars, shows that the three Korean scholars, T’aegye, Yulgok and Dasan in the Chosŏn … [Read More]

Seeking Order in a Tumultuous Age: The Writings of Chŏng Tojŏn, a Korean Neo-Confucian

From the publisher’s website: Chŏng Tojŏn, one of the most influential thinkers in Korean history, played a leading role in the establishment of the Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1910). Long recognized for his contributions to the development of Neo-Confucianism in Korea, Chŏng was both a prodigious writer and an influential statesman before being murdered in a political … [Read More]