Isabella Bird (Mrs Bishop, 1831-1904) was recommended an open-air life from an early age as a cure for her physical and nervous difficulties. Her accounts of travel in America, Hawaii, Japan and Persia were best-sellers. This two-volume work, first published in 1898, was one of the books arising from Bird's visit to Korea and China between 1894 and 1897, the other being The Yangtse Valley and Beyond (1899), also available in this series. Korea was a battleground during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-5, and subsequently became increasingly dominated by Japan, being annexed fully in 1910. Bird's fame as a traveller and missionary gained her unprecedented access for a foreigner to Korean royalty and high officials, at a time when the country had only recently opened up to foreign trade and missions. She provides vivid descriptions of the country, its people, and their way of life and customs.