[Guest Report] Soongsil releases letters from Kim Jeong-hui

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[Guest Report] Soongsil releases letters from Kim Jeong-hui


“Wandangsoochal,” a collection of letters and illustrations by calligrapher Kim Jeong-hui, has been published by Soongsil University for the first time. [SOONGSIL UNIVERSITY]

Soongsil University reported on Oct. 10 that its Korean Christian Museum has published “Wandangsoochal,” a collection of letters by calligrapher Kim Jeong-hui (1786-1856).

The book contains letters Kim sent to the mainland while in exile on Jeju Island in 1840. A total of 24 letters and poems are included.

Kim was a beloved calligrapher and scholar of the late Joseon period, responsible for creating chusache, a form of writing.

Wandang is Kim’s pen-name, and soochal means a hand-written letter, so the title of the book translates to “hand-written letters by Kim Jeong-hui.”

The written dates and the recipients of these letters are not clear, but based on the information in the letters, they were likely to have been intended for a servant working for his family.

Most of his well-known letters were for family or friends, but this collection includes some of the first examples of Kim’s letters to his servants, making the book far more interesting and unique.

The book contains a very intimate story from Kim’s exile, talking about how he was bullied by the county magistrate and the efforts that he had to go through to avoid such distress.

On the other hand, the letters also show that quite a lot of people, including lower-level officials, helped Kim while he was exiled on the island.

The book also contains detailed information on his drawings and calligraphic works collected throughout his life, as well as evidence that he was heavily dependent on data from China.

By Kim Seung-jun [kim.seungjun@joongang.co.kr]
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