The Confucian Kingship in Korea: Yŏngjo and the Politics of Sagacity

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Columbia University Press, 2001 - 329 pages
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The Neo-Confucian kingship was based on the ideal of the sage king, an ordinary human being rendered supreme through his extraordinary virtue. The eighteenth-century Korean ruler Yôngjo, one of that country's most illustrious yet most tragic rulers, is a fascinating example of the Neo-Confucian sage kingship. In this book, JaHyun Kim Haboush provides an outstanding, dramatically realized introduction to traditional Korean culture through the story of Yôngjo, and offers profound insights into the complex interplay between Confucian rhetoric and the politics of the Yi monarchy. Haboush focuses on the deteriorating relationship between Yôngjo and his only son, Crown Prince Sado, and relates the agonizing choices the Confucian ruler was forced to make between saving either his son or his dynasty. Originally published as A Heritage of Kings, this paperback edition contains a new preface reflecting new discoveries and updated scholarship in the field.


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A scholarly study of King Yangjo of Korea (1724 - 1776) Read full review


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About the author (2001)

JaHyun Kim Haboush is professor of Korean history and culture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the editor and translator of The Memoirs of Lady Hyegông and a contributing editor of Culture and State in Late Chosôn Korea.

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