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Classical Poetic Songs of Korea

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In English


Classical Poetic Songs of Korea is a chronological study of the diverse styles of songs sung by Koreans for some 2,000 years, from the 1st-2nd century B.C. through the 19th century. They include simple songs of the early ancient period, native songs (hyangga) of Silla, the lyrical songs (siga) of Goryeo, and hymns for state events (akjang) and three-line poems (sijo) as well as the long vernacular verse (gasa) and folk songs (japga) of the Joseon period.

The book introduces important songs representing all these styles and describes the social environment and lifestyle of different eras that gave birth to Korea’s rich legacy of poetic songs. Beyond the traditional academic boundaries, the author looks into the meaning of these songs with focus on the social and cultural ambience, universal human dreams and desires that shroud them. 

Written by Kim Dae-haeng and translated by Lee Kyong-Hee, this is the 26th volume of "The Spirit of Korean Cultural Roots," an ambitious bilingual project of the Ewha Womans University Press to explore major streams of Korean culture for readers around the world.



I. Poetic Songs of Early Ancient Period 

Three Songs and Their Backgrounds 

A Man Facing Death - "My Lord, Cross Not the River" 

Love and Loneliness - "Song of Yellow Birds" 

Divine Birth - "Song of Turtle's Orders" 

II. Hyangga: Native Songs of Silla 

Hyangga and Life in Silla 

Songs of Love 

Songs of Comfort 

Songs of Longing 

Songs of Hope 

Songs with Magic Powers 

Songs on Buddhist Faith 

III. Poetic Songs of Goryeo 

Songs and Life in Goryeo 

Shadow of the Previous Era 

Songs on Thirst for Love 

Songs on Joys and Sorrows of Life 

Songs on Sadness of Parting 

Songs on Wishes and Blessings 

Songs on Ambitions and Pleasures 

IV. Hymns for the State 

Hymns for the Newborn Dynasty 

Prayers for National Development 

Epic Poems in Hangeul 

V. Sijo: Verse in Three Lines 

Sijo and Life in Joseon 

Portrayals of Historical Events 

Life in Nature 

Songs on Moral Virtues 

Songs on the Joys of Life 

World of Art Lovers 

Love of Courtesans 

Narrative Sijo 

VI. Gasa: Long Vernacular Verse 

Gasa and Life in Joseon 

Joyful Life in Nature 

Political Sufferings 

Moral Teachings 

Painful Life in Reality 

Travel Records 

Life of Women 

Songs on Religious Faith 

VII. Folk Songs 

Folk Songs and the Life of Folks 

Twelve Ballads - Adoration of Conceptual World

Twelve Folk Songs - Excitement of Folk Life

World of Singers 


Data sheet

Publication Year
301 g

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