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Korean Works and Days [Paperback]

Richard Rutt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

January 2, 1978 8995442468 978-8995442463
A visitor may never know a land as well as its denizens do, but that visitor sometimes will see things that the residents cannot. In other words, with distance comes perspective, as in this account of rural Korea in the 1950s from the view of a sensitive and inquisitive foreign village priest. A farmer's almanac of a specific place and time, this book records the seasons, the harvest, the customs of the people, and conversations with local Confucian scholars.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Royal Asiatic Society, Korean Branch (January 2, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8995442468
  • ISBN-13: 978-8995442463
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,134,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Korean Works and Days" is now a historical document April 15, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first read Richard Rutt's "Korean Works and Days" in the early 1970s when I lived in Korea as a U.S. Peace Corps member. It was then a wonderful guide to things I was seeing about me in rural Korea. It was not especially old at the time -- the book originated as newspaper columns in the late 1950s -- but already Korea was changing rapidly; while I could see on a daily basis many of the things Rutt wrote about, other many of the experiences he related were no longer possible then. And now I suspect that much of the content of the book would be almost as foreign or exotic to a young, urban Korean as to a westerner.

Richard Rutt was an Anglican parish priest when he wrote the original articles (he later became Bishop of Taejon -- I don't know what became of him later on), and unusually observant, skilled (he spoke and wrote Korean superbly), and sensitive. His position as a pastor involved him in many of the intimate and deep concerns of his neighbors as well as their daily work, joys, and tragedies. His own classical and theological education equipped him to befriend the local country scholars (who occupy a larger place in the book than they probably held in his village) so he reflects a tie to the Korean and Chinese cultural heritage which also has probably slipped away.

Accordingly, "Korean Works and Days" is not only an involving book by itself but almost a primary historical document -- a diary -- of a time that won't be seen again.
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