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Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics$
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Wm. Theodore de Bary

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153973

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153973.001.0001

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The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng

The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng

(p.352) 26 The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng
Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics

JaHyun Kim Haboush

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng, a collection of four autobiographical narratives written by Lady Hyegyŏng from 1795 to 1805. Lady Hyegyŏng narrates not only her own life but also incidents from her own perspective and renders judgment on all concerned. The chapter places the The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng in the context of Chosŏng n Korean literary culture, which developed out of dual linguistic traditions—classical Chinese and Korean. It also speculates on the cultural significance of the genres that Lady Hyegyŏng used. She did not have a ready-made form available to her, and so for each memoir she resorted to a genre from classical Chinese prose and used it for her own purposes. As the memoirs move from the personal to the public, so do the genres in which the memoirs are written, from autobiography to historiography.

Keywords:   Lady Hyegyŏng, memoirs, autobiographical narratives, autobiography, Korean classical texts

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