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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


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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5. Implications of dialogues with literary predecessors


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5.   Implications of dialogues with literary predecessors

In the previous chapter, various secondary hypotexts and sources of KUL/KUG were presented, but, as Karen Laura Thornber states,

it is not enough simply to call attention to the presence of intertexts. A mere list of actual or potential “origins” indicates only that the writer is well-read. Julia Kristeva and others have warned of the perils of a simple “study of sources” and wisely advocate focusing on how material is transposed as it moves from one format to another. Such strategy explains not only the “what” of writers’ intertextual sources and “how” these materials are incorporated but also the “so what” of intertextual poetics, the “real implications of dialogues with literary predecessors”.493

Consequently, KUL/KUG must not only be examined with regards to the questions of “what” secondary hypotexts are contained and “how” they are technically integrated or “custom-fitted” into the plotline of the primary hypotext, but the “so what” has to be addressed as well. It is imperative to construct hypotheses with regards to possible reasons for the incorporation of certain textual borrowings or hypertextual transformations at particular points of narration.

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