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Friendship and Poetry between Lee Saek and Han Soo in Late Goryeo - Focusing on the Poems Imitating Rhyming Characters from Mokeun-sigo and Yuhang-sijib -

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2017, (126), pp.203-244
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Yunjoo Kim 1

1서울시립대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article aims at figuring out friendship between Lee Saek and Han Soo in King Woo’s time in Goryeo Dynasty through the poems shared by them, and further, interpreting various forms of lives explained in the poems in historical perspectives. Among 4,262 poems from Mokeun-sigo(Lee Saek’s poetical works) and 147 poems from Yuhang-sijib(Han Soo’s poetical works), respectively, their narratives take quite large part in those poems. The article reviews their friendship focusing on the poems imitating rhyming characters from each other’s works and those containing each other’s narratives even though they did not imitate each other’s rhyming characters. The poems had been their communicative instruments for almost 40 years from their teenage years when they met each other first time to Han Soo’s death. However, when cross-checking the poems from their own works, respectively, the period is generally limited between 1375(King Woo’s first year) and 1384(King Woo’s 10th year). In King Woo’s time, as they were almost retired from politics, the political interests scarcely interfered in their relations. Moreover, in their aging times, they did not lead to rebuild Seongkyunkwan and oppose Shin Don’s reform vigorously unlike King Gongmin’s time. Their bodies were in pain and sick, and the time when they aged was too confusing. However, they shared literature emotions through poems and comforted each other. In the end of Goryeo Dynasty, poem literature was very important, and ‘writing poems’ between them was the center of their friendship and their own daily lives. The poems were letters inquiring after each other, diaries containing agonies and joys in their lives, and records of impression after going up to a tower and watching Moon. And when Lee Saek wrote a poem, Han Soo gave a reading of it. Sometimes, others imitated rhyming characters and wrote poems. The imitation of rhyming characters was not limited in a method of writing poems but the poetic sharing spread in their friendship. In their friendship, characteristics of neo-Confucianists. The networks through the state examination were connected with proctors, the persons who passed the state examination, sons of proctors, and the group passing the state examination together, and they strengthened their friendship through frequent meetings. The houses of both Lee Seak and Han Soo were intertwined in three generations through proctors, the persons who passed the state examination, and the group passing the state examination together, etc. These facts can be confirmed from historical sources such as the History of Goryeo Dynasty(Goryeosa) and the pedigrees but the poems of their literature works shows the actual contents of these relations more intensively, because they contains specific contents of the scenes of their meetings such as who led the meetings, how many people participated in, where they met and what they did, when they met again, and if it was a single meeting only, etc. The poems are a kind of literature containing emotional aspects of people but when analyzing other people’s poems by imitating rhyming characters and the official historical sources, they can show the requests and agonies at that time. In particular, this article reviews their concerns in Japanese invasion, which was a national crisis at that time, and in case of Han Soo, his experience of Japanese invasion inspired it. He asked to the Japanese monks who visit in Goryeo at that time finding how to control the Japanese and explored the situations of Japanese invaders. Also, in that situation, the poems dedicated for Choi Young and Lee Seong-gye who won the Japanese invaders attracted attentions. The Confucianists at that time including Lee Saek and Han Soo celebrated their victory and among them, the poems contains their wish of stabilization of Goryeo Dynasty. In addition to them, Both Mokeun-sigo and Yuhang-sijib introduce very diverse narratives of lives. However, the historical facts included in the literature of ‘poetry’ have not been considered as significant ones. In addition, figuring out friendship through the poems imitating rhyming characters was also attempted in this study first time. We should ask ourselves if we have been too dependent on the historical sources in the name of the ‘official histories’. However, the historical texts such as the official history of Goryeo(Goryeosa) do not include individual emotional changes and mood swings. From this, we need to reconsider the historical values of Mokeun-sigo by Lee Saek and Yuhang-sijib by Han soo, which the times of writing poems were almost clearly revealed.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.