[KS] Translations by Fernand Scherzer: Joseon-ji

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreanstudies.com
Mon May 29 01:43:11 EDT 2023

Hello Brother Anthony:

As for history and authorship, there is a long online article at:
It states (see first paragraph) that (a) there are many versions of the 
朝鮮志, and (b) that it originates from Yi Haeng's 李荇 far better 
known Sinjŭng Tongguk yŏji sŭngnam 新增東國輿地勝覽 [Revised and 
enlarged survey of the geography of Chosŏn], first published 1531 or 

So Se-yang 蘇世讓 (1486-1562) is supposed to be the author of the 朝鮮志
, at least the main author -- who, again, borrowed from the Sinjŭng 
Tongguk yŏji sŭngnam. 

If that is correct, then the 朝鮮志 was only published a few years 
after the Sinjŭng Tongguk yŏji sŭngnam.


On Mon, 29 May 2023 12:37:47 +0900 (KST), Brother Anthony wrote:
> I recently became aware of the two French translations from Chinese 
> texts published by Fernand Scherzer in 1877 and 1886. The first is 
> the record of the journey made by a Chinese ambassador sent by the 
> Emperor of China to authoize the marriage of the young king of Joseon 
> in 1866. The second is far more intriguing. Entitled 朝鮮志 Joseon-ji 
> Record of Joseon, it comprises 8 chapters presenting multiple aspects 
> of Joseon Korea:
> 1. Historical and Geographical Overview.
> 2. Description of the Capital.
> 3. Various Administrations.
> 4. Customs.
> 5. The Ancient Capitals.
> 6. Ancient Remains.
> 7. Mountains and Rivers.
> 8. Pavilions and Terraces.
> The second chapter is in fact simply a list of the many halls in the 
> palace Gyeongbok-gung. There is no indication of the name of the 
> writer, who is clearly Korean, and the date is a major question, 
> since the text seems to have been composed before the destruction 
> caused by the Imjin War, of which there is no mention. The last 2 
> chapters offer notes on dozens of places in every Korean province, 
> including details of the various names by which certain rivers are 
> known at different stages, and a host of other information. At times 
> the author comments on the extreme beauty of a particular location, 
> he has obviously been there. He is able to indicate certain rocks in 
> rivers where the water is so clear that the fish can be counted. This 
> text gives a quite amazing spread of knowledge of many aspects of 
> long-lost Joseon, rather like a tour guide. 
> I have therefore translated this text into English, adding the 
> Hangeul equivalent of each Chinese-character name and replacing 
> Scherzers odd Chinese-based romanizations by the modern (RR) 
> romanizations of the Hangeul.
> I have also made a rough translation of the Ambassador's journey. 
> Since I am old and do not have to publish or perish, I have made all 
> this available through a single web page  
> http://anthony.sogang.ac.kr/Scherzer.html  where the sad story of 
> Scherzer's short life can also be read. Thise impatient to read the 
> Record in English can simply go to 
> http://anthony.sogang.ac.kr/ScherzerEnglishFullText.pdf  
> I am not aware of previous work on these texts and would be 
> interested to know what has been published, esepcially regarding the 
> date and authorship. Now I must return to my main task, translating 
> and annotating the Histoire of the Korean Church by Charles Dallet 
> and the multiple other texts related to Korea's Catholic history 
> prior to his book.
> Brother Anthony

Frank Hoffmann

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