- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; 2 edition (September 14, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520280482
- ISBN-13: 978-0520280489
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 34 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea 2nd Edition
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Korean --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
This authoritative edition. . . elucidates the intricate world of Korean courtits morass of age-old strictures, interfamilial rivalries, and just plain ill willthrough which Lady Hyegyong had to navigate, both in her life and writing. . . Part of what makes these memoirs so gripping is the threat of erasure, present from the start.”
Voice Literary Supplement
Lady Hyegyong writes of a life that none of us could have lived, yet her words and feelings are the same as those expressed and experienced by women in many time periods and many civilizations. . . . The translation by JaHyun Kim Haboush is fluid, and her wonderfully analytical introduction gives the reader useful background material, as well as insightful interpretation.”
New Asian Pacific Review
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Many readers will come to this book expecting of Heygyong, something like a Korean parallel with Lady Murasaki Shikibu of 10th century Japan. No two lives could be more different. With grave and stiff Confucian decorum, thirty or so years after the shocking and tragic event of 1762, that defines her life, Heygyong writes four successive accounts. Each account has as it purpose, fulfillment of a duty she sees as hers alone under Confucian filial principles, to set the record of that one event right. In the beginning she can't even bring herself to speak of the event directly. But with each account, Heygyong summons more courage, and we discover in her greater strength of character and insight as well as remarkable fortitude and subtlety of intellect. Until, in the final Memoir, written when she is, as she states, "in my white haired old age", she lays everything bare in excruciating detail and with remarkably lucid, even prescient insight into the turmoil of human psychology. While completely unintentional of course, the attendant and emotional build up of tension is exhilarating.
Some knowledge of Korean History, from at least, the rein of King Sukchong down to the abysmal end of the Yi Dynasty and Japanese annexation in 1912, while not essential, will be very rewarding. An outline of the central event of 1762, the theme of the memoirs, is conveniently provided on the back cover of the book. Of course, readers who love history and love Korea, and delight in uncovering true stories that no fiction can hold a candle to, will as I did, fall in love with lady Heygyong. Many thanks once again to JaHyun Kim Haboush.
Final disclosure: I myself have the great good fortune to have been married to an extraordinary Korean Lady, for the past 47 years.
It's fascinating source material as you can read into her personality and draw conclusions about what life was like for them.
The book is well annotated and the notes help give historical context. This would make an excellent book for a young student of history to make into a term paper.