“The Story of Hong Gil-dong” written some 400 years ago in Chinese characters has been discovered in the novel “The Autobiography of Roh Hyeok.” It is drawing attention as it supports the argument that the original writer of “The Story of Hong Gil-dong” is not Heo Gyun (1569~1618).
In his paper to be published next month, Lee Yoon-seok, honorary professor at Yonsei University, wrote, “’The Autobiography of Roh Hyeok’ is a short historical story that is written in Chinese characters. ‘The Story of Hong Gil-dong’ believed to be written by Heo Gyun, who was born 19 years earlier than the writer of ‘The Autobiography of Roh Hyeok,’ had similar story and format as ‘The Autobiography of Roh Hyeok.’” Professor Lee said a man named Cho Bong-rae living in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province provided him with the newly discovered novel.
“The Autobiography of Roh Hyeok” was written in 1626 by Hwang Il-ho (1588~1641), who served as the head of the Uiju government office. The novel, which is contained in “The Collection of works by Jiso,” is based on the biography of Roh Hyeok, which Hwang heard while working as a justice in Jeonju. “The original name of Roh Hyeok is Hong Gil-dong,” the novel wrote. It is estimated that the story of Hong Gil-dong, who lived in the King Yeonsan era, had been passed down and was written as a novel 120 years later.
“’The Story of Hong Gil-dong’ written in the Korean language was not intended to criticize social issues at that time. Rather, ordinary people borrowed the book from bookstores in Seoul around 1800 to entertain themselves,” Professor Lee said. “The discovery of the novel has proved once again that Heo Gyun is not the original writer of ‘The Story of Hong Gil-dong.’”
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