Korean literature is the body of literature produced by Koreans, mostly in the Korean language and sometimes in Classical Chinese. For much of Korea's 1,500 years of literary history, it was written in Hanja. It is commonly divided into classical and modern periods, although this distinction is sometimes unclear. Korea is home to the world's first metal and copper type, world's earliest known printed document and the world's first HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Featural_alphabet" \o "Featural alphabet" featural script. General overview
In general, the written arts have a tradition in epigraphic inscriptions on stones, in early tombs, and on rarely found bamboo pieces that formed early books. Repeated invasions and sacking of the east and west capitals, as well as the difficulty in preserving written texts on bamboo, make works before 1000 rare. Those works were entirely written in Chinese characters, the language of scholars, but of course incorporated Korean words and mindset. Medieval scholars in Korea learned and employed written Chinese as western schoolmen learned Latin: as a lingua franca for the region. It helped cultural exchanges extensively. Notable examples of historical records are very well documented from early times, and as well Korean books with movable type, often imperial encyclopedias or historical records, were circulated as early as the 7th century during the Three Kingdoms era from printing wood-blocks; and in the HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goryeo" \o "Goryeo" Goryeo era the world's first metal type, and books printed by metal type, most probably of copper, were produced, fully two hundred years before the work of Johann Gutenberg or William Caxton who, to most Westerners, "invented" the first printing presses. Scriptoria have existed since the beginning of the culture, and rose to great importance inBuddhist and later HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucianist" \o "Confucianist" Confucianist schools...
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