Tale of Hong Gildong


Hong Gildongjeon (Tale of Hong Gildong) is one of the first novels written in Hangul, the Korean alphabet, in the middle of the Joseon Dynasty. The novel is by Heo Gyun (Hŏ Kyun, 1569–1618), whose revolutionary thinking is reflected in the story’s emphasis on breaking down differences in status and reforming corrupt politics. The main character of the novel, Hong Gildong, was the child of a nobleman and a female servant. Even though he was very intelligent and talented, Hong Gildong was never accepted as a son of a noble family because of a rigid status system. After he left home, Hong Gildong became a bandit leader and organized a band of “Robin Hoods,” who robbed the rich of their unjustly earned goods and distributed them to the poor. Later, he went to the foreign nation called Yuldo and built an ideal country where all people were equal.

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1 volume (19 leaves); 24.3 x 19.3 centimeters; woodblock print

Last updated: September 18, 2015