This paper presents an annotated translation and hermeneutic interpretation of a garden record in Seo Yugu’s nineteenth-century Korean encyclopedia Treatises on Rural Living (Imwon gyeongje ji 林園經濟志). This particular garden record is about a fantasy garden called To-Become Garden (Jangchwiwon 將就園). The translation, historical annotations, and hermeneutic interpretation presented in this paper help define the concept of a fantasy garden in East Asian architecture and uncover the Taoist hermitage in the humanistic, social, and environmental context of premodern Korea, at a time when Korea was experiencing a philosophical shift from traditional Neo-Confucianism to the emerging social movement of “practical learning” (Sirhak). This paper demonstrates that Seo’s encyclopedic composition of garden theories mixes his cultural perception of Korean mountain landscapes, his life experience of a practical hermitage, and his fantasy of a Taoist paradise. A comparison is drawn between Seo’s philosophy of life and Western critical philosophy at the dawn of modernity.


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pp. 195-222
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