The deaths of Confucian scholars in the Chosŏn period (1392–1910) gave rise to elaborate rituals through which the bereaved reframed their relationships to the deceased as well as among themselves, and which took place most explicitly in the process of producing diverse funerary texts. Created in a specific material format and aesthetic, each funerary text addressed a particular group of people enacting its respective performative functions in the ritual proceedings. While exploring the funerary texts produced for T’oegye Yi Hwang (1501−1570), this article grapples with the indistinguishable narrative styles shown in different funerary texts despite their distinctive material conditions and ritual functions. It demonstrates that the privileged status that books enjoyed in Chosŏn Confucian tradition meant that their addressivity nullified the original tone and style of each text, because funerary texts were eventually compiled and included as part of the deceased’s collection of writings in book form. This study argues that textual scholarship needs to account for hierarchies among the different textual materialities, particularly when the same texts travel across diverse media forms. It complements existing historiography that almost always uses Chosŏn funerary texts as narrative sources and takes for granted the cultural practice of writing and including them in books.

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