UCMS lecture Remco Breuker: The Three Kingdoms of 13th century Korea

De Samguk Yusa, oftewel de 'Memorabilia van De Drie Koninkrijken van Korea'. Foto: via Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

On 1 December, the third lecture in the UCMS Lecture Series 2022-2023 will take place. In this lecture Professor of Central Asian History Remco Breuker (Leiden University) will address the subject of the Samguk Yusa, a thirteenth-century manuscript compilation of myths and legends on the Korean peninsula.

The Three Kingdoms

The Samguk Yusa ('Forgotten Legacies of the Three Kingdoms') is a compilation of diverse narrative types, including myths, legends, and historical records among others which collectively present a secular and Buddhist history of the Three Kingdoms on the Korean peninsula.

In both contemporary Korea's the Samguk Yusa is seen as the most important surviving premodern (historical) text, but it suffered a long period of serious neglect between the 15th and the early 20th century. It was only resurrected in the 1920s, because it contained the Tan'gun origin myth of the Korean people and could serve as an antidote for Chinese (and Japanese) influence.

This talk will introduce the text, its recently finished translation and annotation, and its ambiguous status in contemporary discourse as medieval text and as the book which introduced the Tan'gun myth to the peninsula.

Remco Breuker

Professor Remco Breuker is a historian of Korea and Northeast Asia, who works on medieval Korean and Northeast Asian history and on contemporary North Korean affairs. He has published on the medieval state of Koryo, Korean historiography, Northeast Asia and North Korea, as well as literary translations from Korean into Dutch.

Interested in margins, marginality, hybridity, and pluralism, since 2014 he has been working on making the voices of elite exiles from North Korea heard in academic debates.

Start date and time
End date and time
Janskerkhof 2-3, room 0.13

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Utrecht Centre for Medieval Studies