Корея в XVII веке
The article focuses on the historical and geographical literary work of 18th century named the “Description of the Selected Villages” (Taengniji, 擇里志) with reference to the cultural opposition of “friend or foe” which since the 17th century has acquired a special value for Korean intellectuals. With the coming to power in 1644 of the Manchu Qing dynasty and the fall of the Chinese Ming dynasty – the former formal overlord of Korea – Koreans-intellectuals wanted to revise the existing picture of the world, since the “uncivilized” Qing could not be the “Middle State”. Yi Chunghwan, the author of the “Description of the Selected Villages” addressed Korean geography to resolve that cultural conflict, proving the succession of Korea after China, and this article considers the ideas he outlined. According to Yi Chung-hwan, the very geographical location of Korea determines the high level of moral values of the Korean people; its merits – and the main is “loyalty” to the Ming dynasty; and predetermines the development of Korean history and international relations. In “inheriting” the traditional Chinese values, norms and “civilization” Mt. Paektu standing on the border between China and Korea acts as a link, and for that reason Yi Chung-hwan endowed it with special “qualities”. At the same time, the mountain was also included in the territories considered to be sacred for the Qing dynasty. Thus, the conflict between the interests of both states was inevitable.
The “Description of the Selected Villages” written in exile by an official Li Chung-Hwan (1690-1756?) is the first Korean book on cultural geography. It tells about the eight Korean provinces: their history, geography, historical anecdotes, poetry that praises Korean nature, and information about trade and routes. The book was written in Hanmun, a Korean form of written Chinese language. Right now it is being translated to Russian by the author of the article. The study is focused on the concept of “space” and its manifestation in the narrative of the “Descriptions of Selected Villages” where the “real space,” defined by the geographical boundaries, is connected to the “unreal space” that serves as a key element needed for understanding and interpretation of the text. Our task is to correlate the “space” and the text; to reveal the boundaries of the “unreal space” in, according to Li Chung-Hwan, was the Korean state in the 18th century, and to explain the reasons for this perception. We discovered that the “unreal space” described by Li Chung-Hwan is recreated on the basis of a Sinocentric model of the world where the “cultural center - chaos” opposition was transferred to international relations between Korea and the surrounding countries, and was based on the lost values of the legendary Chinese culture. At the same time, it is clearly seen that Li Chung-Hwan tried to define the place for Korea in a new changing world through the formation of a new cultural space.