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Houlahan, J. C. (1978) The life and works of Han Yongun. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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In this thesis I wish to present an ordered account of the life and works of Han Yongun. As a Buddhist priest and philosopher, as a poet and novelist, as an essayist and commentator on his own time the body of his work is many-faceted. This is reflected in the various views of his work. Some critics emphasise his nationalism and the part he played in the independence movements which followed the March 1, 1919 uprising and interpret his work in this light. Others concentrate on his most famous work The Silence of 'Nim' and stress his contribution to the new forms of modem Korean poetry. No modem anthology of Korean poetry is complete without an excerpt from this collection. Han Yongtu is a figure who still symbolizes for many Koreans their yearning for a national identity and a national culture which adapts itself to the twentieth century without destroying the sense of a unique past and an enduring intellectual and religious tradition. I hope to demonstrate in this account of his life and works that the unifying principle of his life was his deep commitment to the reform of Korean society through the social expression of his Buddhist philosophy. I believe that an understanding of his Essay on The Renewal of Korean Buddhism is crucial to the appreciation of his poetry and novels as well as to an understanding of his lifelong political activism. Ham Yongun's own philosophy was essentially secular and strongly influenced by nineteenth century European philosophy. Enlightenment was to be achieved in this world. His work can best be understood as an attempt to bring enlightenment to the mass of people through teaching and social reform.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:58

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