Brief Encounters: Early Reports of Korea by Westerners
- About the Book
This anthology is a compilation of Westerners’ accounts of their visits to Korea, originally published in books or newspapers before the country opened its doors in the late nineteenth century. The opening of Korea made it possible to explore the country in detail and write detailed accounts. Prior impressions were garnered mostly from brief visits to remote islands along the coast. The accounts published here are mainly anecdotal, and contain many generalizations. However, the accumulated impressions of these early encounters surely influenced the perspectives of later travelers, and help explain the overwhelmingly negative image of Korea that Western governments harbored at the time. The book can serve as a useful resource for studying Korea’s early interactions with the outside world, and will give readers an idea of the criteria by which Westerners judged the foreign “other.”
- Brother Anthony of Taizé (An Sonjae) was born in 1942 in the UK. He studied Medieval and Modern Languages at Oxford and in 1969 he joined the Taizé Community in France. He taught English literature at Sogang University, Seoul, for nearly three decades. He is emeritus professor at Sogang University and chair-professor at Dankook University. Since 1990 he has published more than forty volumes of translated works by such esteemed Korean authors as Ku Sang, Ko Un, Cheon Sang-byeong, Shin Kyeong-nim, Park Yuhui, Yi Mun-yol, and Do Jong-hwan. Since January 2011 he has been president of the Royal Asiatic Society s Korea branch. He received the Korean government s Award of Merit, Jade Crown class, in October 2008 for his work to spread knowledge of Korean literature throughout the world. In 2015 he was awarded an honorary MBE (Member of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth for his contributions to Anglo- Korean relations. Robert D. Neff is a freelancer writer and historical researcher specializing in Korean history during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His writings have appeared in various newspapers, and books including Korean through Western Eyes, Westerner s Life in Korea, Christian Science Monitor, Royal Asiatic Society-Korea Branch Transactions, Korea Times, Korea Herald and Jeju Weekly.