The literature of South Korea refers to those literature works which are expressed in Korean, and it can be divided into two parts: written literature and oral literature. Written literature can be divided into more parts like Lidu literature (which is written for intellectuals), Xiangzha literature (which is written for ordinary 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. The feature of it is collective work , so many versions of a piece of work emerge in the process of spreading.
South Korea’s literature can also be divided into classical literature and contemporary literature according to the era in which it appeared. Three-state literature, United-Xinluo literature, Korai period literature and Korean literature make up of the classical literature, compared with the contemporary literature which developed under the influence of western Europe.
South Korea’s literature reveals the national awareness to keep overcoming setbacks and difficulties, keep struggling 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 the great nature and regressionism, with few works 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, declaring devotion to nature and country. Although it is somewhat lacking in creativity and uniqueness, the simple and plain beauty showed in South Korea’s literature is really touching.
Similar to 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. Their writers are not a single person but a group of people; they are collective works.
With people bowing farewell to the primitive society and division of labor becomes more important in people’s lives, division of art emerges as well. 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.