The literature of South Korea can be divided into two parts: written literature and oral literature. The written literature can be divided into more parts like Lidu literature (which was written for intellectuals), Xiangzha literature (which was written for the common people), Han literature (which is written in Chinese characters) and Han gugole literature. Oral literature is a literary form delivered to each other by ears and mouths. Its defining feature is collective work, so many versions of a story emerge as it is told and passed down by different people.
South Korea’s literature can also be divided into classical literature and contemporary literature, according to the era in which it appeared. United-Xinluo literature, Korai period literature and Korean literature make up the classical literature, compared with the contemporary literature, which developed under the influence of western Europe.
South Korea’s literature reveals the national pride that keeps overcoming setbacks and difficulties, and keeps fighting for a better life in the future. However, due to the ethics of Confucianism, South Korea’s literature is more likely to express the tendency of appreciating nature and regressionism, and little about revolution and reform. It shows their respect to national traditions and history, positive attitude, and rich national emotion. Compared with rational thinking, Koreans stress an importance on expressing love for family and nation, and expressing devotion to nature and country. Although some say it is lacking in creativity and uniqueness, the simple and plain beauty showed in South Korea’s literature is touching.
Like other countries, South Korea’s literature rooted from a mixture of poetry, music and dance. Ancient ballads are connected with the national intrinsic belief and people’s farming lives, and their writers are not a single person but of a group of writers – collective work. Poetry, dance and music developed into independent art forms and literature entered the rapid development period. Fairy tales, legends and ballads are all recorded after characters are invented. The most famous ones are Sanguo Shiji written by Kim Bushi, Dongguo Lixiangguo ji written by Lee kuibao, and Diwang Yunji written by Lee chengxiu.
Literature in Korai period:
Jingji Tige was a popular form of poetry at this time, and the typical works are Hanlin Biequ and Zhuxi Biequ. In the middle of the Korai period, the state fell into disorder because the Mongols invaded Korea and military officers ruled the country arbitrarily. Some people wanted to put Zhuzi’s theory into practice and use it as the concept of governing the country, so a new literature form appeared—-shidiao.
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