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Image of merchant shown on an old novel of late Joseon and its meaning - Centered on <Boeungiurok>

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2014, (30), pp.65-105
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose

Tak wonjong 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The study intended to identify literary image of social and economic changes such as activation of money economy and commerce in the late Joseon, in addition, to let Boeungiurok establish itself as novel of merchant in Joseon. To this end, the author analyzed images of the merchant shown on <Boeungiurok> which is a long novel written in Korean. The first image of merchant on <Boeungiurok> is ‘running of butcher's shop by ruined Yangban’. The second image of merchant is ‘large usury man connected with an official’. The first meaning of merchant image on <Boeungiurok> is that ‘appearing of authentic merchant novel-catching of lives of merchant and exploring of ideal merchant image’. Through stories related to butcher's shop or usury, activity of merchant in the midst of daily lives and actual commercial business are vividly described. Furthermore, ethic of merchant or management guideline are disclosed. Although Wi Yeon-cheong is not a merchant, image of merchant with virtue is disclosed through him. This shows that there is an aspect to explore image of desirable merchant. The second meaning is ‘setting of new conflict between father and son- conflict in identity between scholar(士) and merchant(商)’. There is conflict between a father and a son - the father shows excessive hatred about reading a book which is a duty of Yangban while the son still emphasizes his class as a scholar. In addition, there is inner conflict of the son - the son has recognition about commercial activity or making money that shows some distance from identity of scholar class.

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