Graeme R. Reynolds - Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in East Asian Studies
The History of Koryŏ and the Essentials of Koryŏ History are two court histories on the Koryŏ dynasty (918–1392) compiled during the early decades of the Chosŏn (1392–1910). Written in the cosmopolitan language of Literary Sinitic, these two books became foundational texts for the Chosŏn elites to write and rewrite their past. Today, the two texts are centerpiece historical sources for the study of premodern Korea. In this talk, I examine the Chosŏn-era production, circulation, and reception of these two court histories. Based on my examination of over 100 Chosŏn-era copies of the History and the Essentials, and drawing on analyses of the physical books, seals of ownership, and marginal annotations, I elucidate the patterns of geographical and chronological circulation and reading of the different editions of each book and illuminate practices of reading, scholarship, and historiography in early modern Korea. In so doing, I reveal an untold history of the reception of the two histories concealed by radical changes in media in the twentieth century.