Engraving Virtue: The Printing History of a Premodern Korean Moral Primer
Young Kyun Oh, Arizona State University
In Engraving Virtue, Young Kyun Oh investigates the publishing history of the Samgang Haengsil-to (Illustrated Guide to the Three Relations), a moral primer of Chosŏn (1392–1910), and traces the ways in which woodblock printed books contributed to shaping premodern Korea.
Originally conceived by the court as a book with which to instill in its society Confucian ethics encased in the stories of moral heroes and heroines as filial sons, loyal subjects, and devoted wives, the Samgang Haengsil-to embodies various aspects of Chosŏn society. With careful examinations of its various editions and historical documents, Oh presents how the life of this book reflected the complicated factors of the Chosŏn society and how it became more than just a reading material.