초록 close

In this article, the culture of publication that prevailed in the 19th century Joseon will be examined, by studying some books published by the government. It was not an easy job to come up with a responsible claim, that there have indeed been some problems in the scholars’ perspective viewing the history of the 19th century, especially in terms of the publication culture of the time. Compared to the 18th century, when publication was a highly invigorated practice, and the government was more than eager to produce books that would reflect the information and knowledge accumulated at the time, publication was interestingly showing somewhat of a downfall, in the 19th century. And even the books that were published, were mere reiterations of what people were already aware of, the general knowledge of Neo-Confucian, which was no longer able to provide solutions for the people and the era. Yet at the same time, some of the nobility houses located in the capital region were starting to exhibit some ‘highly decorated’ publications(at least in their exteriors), by using personally created printing blocks, or publishing personal anthologies before one even died. And under the influence of the Chinese Qing culture, not only paper, but also document formats of China were imported from the outside as well. The state’s capability of accumulating and processing information was indeed deteriorating, yet the capital aristocracy class was more actively engaging themselves in private and “high-class” publication, thus creating a new kind of ‘publication culture.’The government at the time did try to expand its windows for the absorption of information, especially not only from China but also from Japan, and official publication concerning diplomatic relationships with other countries in the world actually increased, as contacts with those countries were being subsequently made. Yet it should also be noted that such phenomena was accompanied by another trend of publication mentioned above, which was concentrated too much upon publishing books related to Chinese classics(經書) and ritual protocols(禮書). With the publication increase since the 17th century, and even with the temporary decline in the 19th century, publication was still serving as a method of distribution, for knowledge and information. Knowledge was spreaded throughout the public, information became more and more secularized, and people started to own those knowledge as ‘the knowledge of the Joseon people(朝鮮化).’ Not only the nobility houses, but also people of the commoner class, started to generally practice Confucian-style memorial services, and some of them even tried to officialize themselves as descendants of some Yangban houses, by committing forgeries to existing genealogical records of certain prominent lineages. Publication was no longer the sole privilege of the upper class. Even the people who pursued the preservation of orthodox Neo-Confucianism attempted to adapt their learning to the Joseon condition. 『Gukjo Daehak Yeon’eui/國朝大學衍義』 was a book that replaced all the Chinese episodes originally inserted in 『Daehak Yeon’eui/大學衍義(published to enlighten the emperors)』, with ‘Joseon episodes.’ And 『Geunsa-sok’rok/近思續錄』 was a book that replaced the ‘Five Masters of the Northern Sung period’ originally described in 『Geunsa-rok/近思錄(the primary manual of Neo-Confucianism)』, with ‘Joseon’ Confucian scholars. Joseon was now able to provide its own citizens with historical knowledge and solutions for current dilemmas.