Wednesday 23 September 2020

corea: the hermit kingdom

This anthology of Korean folktales collected and retold by William Elliot Griffis from Public Domain Review is interesting in its own right for the well-intentioned desire (with notable shortcomings) to bring to a Western readership some of the country’s mythology and lore, but there’s a striking side note as well with earlier publication of the above entitled in 1882, a history of the Joseon dynasty that coined the moniker, applied to isolationist policies in general. Obviously now not new, the term gained traction and currency when invoked by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to describe North Korea.