Literature, Friendship and the Question of Dissent after the Military Revolt of 1170: The Case of Yi Illo and Im Ch'un


Thursday, October 21, 2021, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


Online (Zoom)

Korea Colloquium 

event poster

Dennis Wuerthner
Assistant Professor of East Asian Literatures, Boston University

Dr. Dennis Wuerthner is a researcher and lecturer at the Korean Studies Institute of Ruhr University Bochum. He teaches Korean history, and studies and translates premodern and contemporary Korean literature. His recent publications comprise A Study of Hypertexts of Kuunmong, focusing on Kuullu / Kuungi (Frankfurt a. M.: Peter Lang, 2017), Tales of the Strange by a Korean Confucian Monk: Kŭmo sinhwa by Kim Sisŭp (University if Hawai’i Press, 2020 / UCLA Korean Classics Library Historical Materials Series) and “A Fusion of Dreams, a Crossing of Borders: On Ch’oe Inhun’s Transformations of Korean Classical Literature” (Seoul Journal of Korean Studies 33, no. 2, December 2020, 419-458). From February 2022 on, he will serve as Assistant Professor of East Asian Literatures in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Boston University.

Chaired by Si Nae Park, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

The military revolt of the year 1170 not only constituted a caesura in the history of the Koryŏ dynasty (918-1392), but it also marked a decisive turning point in the lives of many literati and civil-officials of the time. Yet while some intellectuals met disaster and were continuously marginalized, others subsequently thrived, pursuing illustrious official careers in the following decades. In this talk I will focus on two prominent young intellectuals of the age: Yi Illo, styled Misu, and Im Ch’un, styled Kiji, two friends of similar backgrounds whose lives in the post-coup era developed in dramatically different directions. On the basis of selected extant writings, particularly from P’ahan chip (Collection [of Poems and Tales] to dispel Idleness) and Sŏha chip (Collection of Sŏha), I mean to discuss the two scholars’ relationship, the way they viewed their lives and times, as well as the questions as to how they positioned themselves vis-à-vis the prevailing system(s) of military rule and how their writings and collections may be read as literature of dissent.

To attend this online event, please register here.

A reminder email with the Zoom link will be sent in advance of the event.

Generously supported by the Sunshik Min Endowment Fund for the Advancement of Korean Literature at the Korea Institute.