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A Study of Hypertexts of «Kuunmong» 九雲夢, Focusing on «Kuullu» 九雲樓 / «Kuun’gi» 九雲記

Nine Clouds in Motion

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Dennis Wuerthner

This case study deals with late Chosŏn dynasty works of narrative fiction modelled after Kuunmong (A Dream of Nine Clouds) by Kim Manjung (1637–1692). The focus lies on a novel extant in two manuscripts: Sinjŭng Kuullu (Revised augmented edition of the Nine Cloud Tower) and Sinjŭng chaeja Kuun’gi (Revised augmented caizi edition of the Story of Nine Clouds), short Kuullu/Kuun’gi. While this study specifically discusses late premodern hypertexts of Kuunmong, it is also concerned with a set of broader questions regarding the diffusion, circulation, reception, and creative transformation of literary products of different languages on the eve of modernity in Sino-centric East Asia.

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3. The “mosaic-hypertext” Kuullu/Kuun’gi

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3.   The “mosaic-hypertext” Kuullu/Kuun’gi

Let us now turn our attention to the central object of research in this study: a nineteenth century KUM-hypertext extant in two manuscripts, one of which is entitled Sinjŭng Kuullu (hereafter abbreviated KUL), while the other carries the title Sinjŭng chaeja Kuun’gi (henceforth abbreviated KUG).215 Both manuscripts are only extant in a single version, but while KUG was discovered in the late 1970s in the personal library of Ch’oe Chun 崔浚 (1884–1970, pen name Munp’a 汶坡)216 by Yun Yŏngok 尹瑩玉, the manuscript KUL was found much later, in 2011. Consequently, due to the fact that KUG has been known and studied for a longer period of time than KUL, one necessarily has to begin with a short discussion of KUG.

KUG is a full-length novel composed in the Chinese written vernacular and founded primarily on KUM. KUG features all of the KUM’s acting characters both from the frame-narrative as well as from the core dream-narrative, and the fundamental plotline is the same as that of KUM. Yet in comparison to KUM, the overall cast of acting characters in KUG is vastly enlarged with figures who do not appear in the primary hypotext, there are manifold scenes, episodes and even entire chapters added to the parent-work by Kim Manjung, and while KUM is set during the times of the Tang dynasty, the plot of KUG is translocated into the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the...

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