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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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4. Hypotexts of Kuullu/Kuun’gi and the issue of readership awareness

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4.   Hypotexts of Kuullu/Kuun’gi and the issue of readership awareness

Let us now turn our attention to the hypertextual transformations we find in KUL/KUG. KUM is the primary hypotext of KUL/KUG, and there are many examples of passages which were directly taken over from the Korean work by Kim Manjung (often with minor alterations). The perhaps most well-known passage can serve as an example: the scene in which Sŏngjin encounters eight immortal women atop a stonebridge and engages in a flirtatious conversation, which eventually poses the primary reason for his banishment from the heavenly Buddhist realm. In KUM, this scene reads:

At the time, the eight immortal women were atop the stone bridge and it was there where they encountered Sŏngjin. Sŏngjin put down his staff, raised his hands and greeted in accordance with the rites, saying: “You female bodhisattvas, please listen to this poor monk’s words. This poor monk is from the sight of enlightenment Yŏnhwa, and I am an apprentice of Master Yukkwan. At the master’s behest I descended from the mountain and went [on a journey to the underwater realm of the dragon]. Now I am on my way back to the monastery. The stone bridge is very narrow, you bodhisattvas are sitting on it, and there is no division of roads for men and women, I fear. Would you move aside shortly with you lotus flower-like steps, and let me go through, so that...

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