[KS] Re: More on HKT

Mickey Hong hong at HUMnet.UCLA.EDU
Mon Feb 28 17:45:51 EST 2000

Ho^ Kyun's older half-brother was Ho^ Pong & his older half-sister, none
other than the master of kasa, Ho^ Nanso^r^on.  They were his teachers
as well as siblings & Ho^ Kyun was well-aware that as much as they were
brilliant, they could never rise in social status b/c of their birth,
they were his chaku^n hyo^ng & chaku^nuna.  His later teacher includes
the poet Yi Tal, whose mother was a kisaeng.

Ho^ was a prominent promoter of  so^ja.   His basic belief was that one
should be recognized for his skill than his pedigree.   It's close to
the basic idea of democracy (all men should be treated equal)...imagine
that in a Neo-Confucian society.  Ho^ Kyun was executed for treason in
1618!  I think it's "radical"  if not dramatic enough to end one's
political career in such fashion, as a rebel, whether it was his choice
or not.

The details: Hong KT was recorded have been imprisoned in the 6th year
of Yo^nsan'gun (1500).  His name is also recorded in _Mansu^ng tadong
po_ as the 2nd son of Hong Sangjik who knew Taoist magic.

It's important to distinguish the 3 Hong KT's--the thief recorded in the
_C W Sillok_, the illegitimate son of Hong SJ, & the literary character.

Many of you asked me to cite the source of the "wild" theory I shared

So^l So^nggyo^ng & Chong Ch'o^l's  _Silchon inmul Hong Kiltong_  (Seoul:
Chung-ang M&B, 1998).

As Prof. Baker asked, the heart of the question is, why should _Hong KT
cho^n_ be any "different"?  Is it simply b/c it was possibly the 1st
fiction in han'gu^l?  Or maybe _Hong KT ch^on_ IS different that it has
survived over the centuries & inspired different (mis)interpretations.

It's the death of a text when it has no more interpretations,
translations, versions.  I don't know about a "radical interpretation"
(versus the canonized one that's inevitably mutable?) but the need for a
new interpretation is always constant--to evaluate our own life & time
in the historical discourse.  It's never about the interpretation itself
but what it says about the political & ideological climate of our
post-colonial, post-minjung, post-post-modern 21st C.

-Mickey Hong

Donald Baker wrote:

> What is the evidence that Hong Kiltong-jeon
> was originally written in han'gul rather
> than being written in Hanmun in the 17th century
> and translated into han'gul a century or so
> later? As far as I know, Ho Kyun wrote
> nothing else in han'gul, so why would
> the HKT story be any different? Also,
> Ho Kyun doesn't show much evidence
> in his political career of being much
> of a radical, so what justification
> is there for a radical interpretation
> of his story?
> A question for Mickey Hong: do you have
> the sillok citation for Hong Kil-tong?
> I am curious to know what the sillok
> says about him.
> Associate Professor, Asian Studies, Univ. of British Columbia


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