Toegye; Lee Hwang; Wolcheon; Jo Mok; Samunsugan; collection of letters; teacher-student relationship; 퇴계; 이황; 월천; 조목; 사문수간; 서찰; 사제 관계
한국언어문학, no.83, pp.251 - 279
This study aims to consider various aspects of Toegye Lee Hwang shown in Samunsugan. Samunsugan is collection of letters combined in eight books of 113 letters sent from Toegye to his best pupil, Wolcheon Jo Mok, from 1550 till 1570, and Wolcheon made it himself at the age of 65. In terms of material value, this collection of letters is full of contents showing intimate relationship between Toegye and Wolcheon which we can hardly find from any other place. And it contains various information about socio-cultural circumstances around the mid-16th century when the letters were written. The discussion of this article focusing on the value of Samunsugan concentrates on the figure of Toegye, the writer of the collection of letters unlike what has been investigated in previous researches. Therefore, this article focuses on examining how Toegye as a mentor appears in Samunsugan to figure out the aspects of his.
Analyzing Samunsugan with the focus on this point, we can summarize Toegye’s aspects largely into four parts. First, he seems very close to his disciple sharing even ordinary things with him. Toegye and Wolcheon were not just in general teacher-student relationship for teaching and learning but also shared various interests as well as all the emotions they felt in their everyday lives. Their humane exchange can be truly said to be intimate. Second, he confesses what lacks in him to his disciple and shows his determination for further efforts. Toegye often berates himself due to the pressure he had in reality for all the unbearable hardships and academic achievements. However, even in that situation, he strived to hold his intention firmly never straying from the right path. Third, he shows an attitude as a strict instructor pointing out the faults of his disciple’s. Toegye never misses to give strict words to Wolcheon about his deeds and merits and demerits of his character. However, his scolding was never high-handed but followed logic while being mild. He was a wonderful mentor in that he provided his disciple with chances for reflection without any addition of negative emotion. Fourth, he is accompanied with his disciple with the mediation of science. According to the result of examining the arguments Toegye takes to deliver his theories to Wolcheon, in the two’s academic exchange, mostly, Wolcheon asks questions, and Toegye gives answers about them. However, Toegye also cultivated his own science as well thanks to Wolcheon.
As written above, the teacher-student relationship between Toegye and Wolcheon was broad in its range, and they formed horizontal relationship beyond mere vertical relationship. Instead of Toegye insisting on his authority in the teacher-student relationship, he recognized his disciple as a companion to live within the same time, so he was such a humane mentor wanting to realize relationship and education at the same time.