S-Space Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원) Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.77/80(2017)
茂亭 鄭萬朝의 『榕燈詩話』 연구
A Study of Yongdeung-sihwa by Mujeong JEONG Man-jo
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
- 한국문화, Vol.79, pp. 77-104
- 茂亭 鄭萬朝; 『榕燈詩話』; 『每日申報』; 『玉溜山莊詩話』; 南社; 詩話; 高宗時代; Mujeong JEONG Man-jo; Yongdeung-sihwa; Maeil sinbo; Oknyusanjangsihwa; Namsa; sihwa; Gojong era
- The purpose of this paper is to introduce the newly discovered Yongdeung-sihwa (榕燈詩話, Critical Essays on Poetry Written in Exile Under an Oil Lamp) and evaluate its significance in the context of the history of poetry criticism in Korea. Yongdeung-sihwa is a collection of critical essays on poetry authored by Mujeong JEONG Man-jo (1858-1936), who was a renowned literati active at the end of the Joseon Dynasty and during the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910–1945). The book was published while the author was still alive, while the entire collection was published once again posthumously in 1938 in a series of 62 articles in the newspaper Maeil sinbo. However, Mujeong’s work has been all but forgotten in Korea in the period since the end of the Japanese occupation. This paper traces why and how this situation came about.
Mujeong descended from an elite family of the Soron faction. Beginning in his teenage years, he lived in Hoehyeon-dong, Hanyang, or today’s Seoul, and associated actively with the most celebrated poets of his time through Namsa Dongin, a circle of literati. In 1896, after being implicated in the October 1895 death of Empress Myeongseong—an event known as the Eulmi Incident—he was sent to Jindo, an island off the southern coast of the Joseon peninsula, for a ten-year exile. The essays in Yongdeung-sihwa were written around 1904 while he was still in exile on Jindo. There are a total of 97 pieces (chik) in the collection, which is substantial in length. Mujeong first analyzes the trends in poetry in Joseon spanning the hundred years from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century. He then concentrates on analyzing the contemporary poets of the Gojong period. Thus, Yongdeung-sihwa is full of lively accounts of the poetry world, which the writer is intimately familiar with. In fact, the entire collection contains information that cannot be found anywhere else. Considering that there is a dearth of works written on poetry of the Gojong period, Mujeong’s collected essays on poetry are extremely valuable for the study of literature and history of the period. As the most valuable work on poetry criticism discovered in recent times, Yongdeung-sihwa deserves the attention of researchers.