No work of research comes from the hands of one alone. I owe my gratitude to everyone who has accompanied me during its creation. First, I must thank the late JaHyun Kim Haboush under whose supervision I began my graduate studies. It was her perspective and acumen, and most importantly, the unshakable resolve she brought to the study of Korean history that convinced me to embark on this venture. Though she is not here today to witness its completion, her continuous confidence and final words of encouragement inspired the tenacity to forge ahead in her absence.
The days immediately following Professor Haboush’s passing were the most difficult. Dorothy Ko’s timely interventions ensured these difficulties would be surmounted. The dedicated attention she offered one who became her charge by circumstance speaks volumes of her intellectual generosity. During my final two years at Columbia, Jungwon Kim invested both mind and heart, not to mention countless hours, to see to the project’s completion. During the entire research and writing process, they, along with my other committee members, Robert Hymes, Charles Armstrong, and Pamela Smith, entertained many ideas of uncertain finish and read many drafts of varying polish. Together they have been pillars of steady support through these trying years and have never turned down a request, however untimely.
Before graduate school, I spent four years of college at Columbia. I spent the bulk of my time at the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Wendy Swartz, Shang Wei, Theodore deBary and Rachel Chung encouraged me to major in East Asian studies and to pursue my interests further in graduate school. I have benefited from the intellectual community here at large, but the numerous enlightening conversations over the years with David Lurie, Gray Tuttle, Eugenia Lean, and Theodore Hughes have been particularly memorable. I also thank my Korean language teachers over the years, Carol Schulz, Yunhee Lee, Hyunkyu Yi and Beom Lee whose patient instruction have made this all possible. And to the department staff, Tamara Kachanov, Joshua Gottesman, Anri Varnatov, and Rosibeli Gomez, only apologies will suffice for all the paperwork I submitted late and last-minute favors I requested.
There are many others who have helped me along the way. To Martina Deuchler, I owe a special thanks, for she came to my aid in times of special need. I dare say I speak for the entire field of premodern Korean studies in North America when I thank Sun Joo Kim, John Duncan, Eugene Park, and Ross King. They have worked tirelessly to nurture the field and support the endeavors of junior researchers like myself. Their encouragement has been constant reminders of the purpose and value of our enterprise. Along with Benjamin Elman, Sarah Schneewind, and Marion Eggert, they have also read drafts, opened doors, and revealed paths. Meanwhile, the advice of Karen Barkey, Manan Ahmed and Herman Bennett have helped me find the next port-of-call in unfamiliar waters.
My search for sources has taken me to many places; as a result, there are many more to thank. Sem Vermeersch and Park Tae Gyun of the Seoul National University Kyujanggak Institute and the International Center for Korean Studies hosted me for a pivotal year-long research trip. During this fruitful year in Korea, I met Lee Ik Joo, Pak Hyun Soon, Oh Soo-chang, Chong Daham, Kim Ho, Koo Bomjin, and Kim Geun-tae. Their lectures, seminars, and over-meal conversations provided a much overdue orientation to the work of scholars in Korea. In addition to the Kyujanggak Institute and the Jangseogak Library, I thank the C.V. Starr East Asian Library of the University of California, Martin Hejdra of the Princeton East Asian Library, and Alain Delissen and No Mi-sug of the Collège de France for making this work of research possible. Wang Yuanzhou of Peking University and Sun Weiguo of Nankai University introduced me to Korean studies research in China and Wu Renshu of Academica Sinica helped me find my way around the collections and resources in Taipei. I have also come to appreciate the ongoing projects of the National History Compilation Bureau, Institute for the Translation of Korean Classics, and other organizations who have labored for decades to make Korean studies sources freely accessible to the general public through digital media. And finally, to my home library, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library of Columbia University, I owe not just overdue book fines, but my everlasting gratitude. Hee-sook Shin, Chengzhi Wang, Kenneth Harlin, Rich Jandovitz, Rongxiang Zhang and the rest of the staff have found time to accommodate unreasonable requests even as they busily tend a priceless trove.
I could not have been more fortunate in having a wonderful group of colleagues in Columbia’s Korean studies community. The conversations I had with Hwisang Cho, Cheehyung Kim and Jenny Wang Medina outside of Kent Hall while I was still mulling my future plans as a college senior gave me glimpses of life as a graduate student. They, along with Se-Mi Oh, Jisoo Kim, Charles Kim and Alyssa Park have never hesitated to extend their friendship with warnings of banana peels and koopa shells on the road ahead. I had the pleasure to join Mi-Ryong Shim, Ksenia Chizhova and Dajeong Chung upon my arrival. Together with Jon Kief, Jaewon Chung, Eunsung Cho, and Kumhee Cho, we drank deep and tasted a common spring.
That these seven years at Columbia were as delightful as they were is the responsibility of my cohort, loosely defined. They are, in no particular order, as follows: Anatoly Detwyler, Arunabh Ghosh, Brian Landor, Chelsea Wang, Dan Barish, Gal Gvili, Greg Patterson, Joanna Das, Julia Keblinksa, Kyoungjin Bae, Lan Wu, Myra Sun, Pau Pitarch, Stephen Boyanton, Tracy Howard, Weiwei Luo, Yijun Wang and Yumi Kim, along with Becky Best and Sun Yoo who have since found greener pastures. To this list I should add the many colleagues of like mind but different cloth I have met over the years, especially Holly Stephens, Javier Cha, and John Lee who will have the unenviable fate of reading my unfinished drafts forevermore.
Finally, I must thank my many long time friends who have always rooted for me, no matter the escapade. Of them, I thank Sol Park especially for reading over my rough drafts at very short notice.
Everyone above, and many others, have contributed in more ways than I can recount. Whatever infelicities this work may contain are entirely the result of my own errors, and none other. Though this dissertation is prolix, rest assured that no envoys were harmed during its writing.
My grandparents, especially Fang Xizhen who taught me how to read, and Wang Shijie who gave me my first lessons in the classics.
My father who first told me the story of the tyrant Zhou and what befalls evil rulers.
My mother whose healthy skepticism taught me to always remain on my toes.
My brother Ray, just because.
And Elsa—of her I must beg eternal forbearance.