Literary Powerhouse from the Social Margins Poetry Societies of Secondary Status Groups in Late Chosŏn Korea

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Hwisang Cho



The communal composition and recitation of poems, as the marker of cultural distinction, constituted the central activities in the social networking of educated elites throughout premodern Korea. Poetry societies, therefore, had prospered in elite circles until the dawn of the modern period. This literary culture trickled down to nonelites during the late Chosŏn period (1392–1910). Some poetry societies of secondary status groups developed into centers of literary production in turn-of-the-nineteenth-century Seoul; prominent yangban elites willingly joined them, and their events attracted attention from poets across the country irrespective of their social status.

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