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The Dynamics of Knowledge Circulation

Cases from Korea

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Edited By Eun-Jeung Lee and Marion Eggert

The book is about the evolution and transformation of knowledge and knowledge systems in the context of cultural contact. The articles take Korea as an example and deal with the configuration, dissemination and consolidation of knowledge in certain contexts of the past and present. Combining philological and social scientific approaches, this book is the result of a joint research project of the Korean Studies institutes at Freie Universität Berlin and Ruhr University Bochum pursued between 2009 and 2014.

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Dennis Wuerthner - On premodern transformations and modern evaluations of Kuunmong

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Dennis Wuerthner

On premodern transformations and modern evaluations of Kuunmong1

Abstract The present article deals with the premodern circulation and literary transformation of Kim Man-jung’s novel Kuunmong on the one hand, and discusses the evaluation of the work and its adaptations during Korea’s colonial modernity on the other. Special attention is paid to the Kuunmong-hypertext Kuullu/Kuun’gi.

In resistance to the assimilatory forces of colonial rule in the first decades of the 20th century, intellectual leaders of Korean modernity like Ch’oe Nam-sŏn (1890–1957) and Kim T’ae-jun (1905–ca. 1950) stressed the independence and uniqueness of Korea’s cultural heritage by different means, amongst others through the accentuation of purportedly native Korean literature and the devaluation of intertextual ties between premodern Chinese and Chosŏn Korean literature.2 In the realm of narrative fiction, several premodern works were established as cornerstones of national literature (kungmunhak). The one work which in the course of this process gained a ← 171 | 172 → secure standing as the supposed greatest masterpiece of Korean literature and which came to be regarded as the only work of Chosŏn fiction which was truly of comparable stature to Chinese and Western masterworks was Kuunmong 九雲夢 (A Dream of Nine Clouds or The Cloud Dream of the Nine, 1687–1688) by Kim Man-jung 金萬重 (1637–1692). The work was written more than half a century before Hongloumeng 紅樓夢 (Dream of the Red Chamber/The Story of the Stone; approximately 1754; written by Cao Xueqin 曹雪芹 (ca. 1715...

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