Perceptions of Death and the Afterlife in Koryŏ and Early Chosŏn
This chapter uses period accounts from Koryŏ to the mid-Chosŏn to examine how death was understood. Many accounts in the literature of the Koryŏ and Chosŏn periods feature encounters with ghosts or beings from beyond the human world. Although these accounts are sometimes humorous or frightening, their more important value is the insight they offer into how the peoples of these times understood death and the afterlife. In highlighting the continuous presence of the dead among the living, the chapter argues that ghosts were not only to be feared but also served a practical didactic role in society, and these ghost stories provide important insight into how death was interpreted by common people.
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