A Study on Kim Manjung′s Seopomanpil(Random Essays)
Kim, Man-jung(1637~1692) was the most excellent writer and brilliant critic in the Yi dynasty. He wrote the novel Guunmong and the collected essays Seopomanpil.
The doctrines of Chu Hsi(1130~1200) governed all spheres of thought in the first half of the Yi dynasty. In literary criticism Chu Hsi′s precedents were the standard of Confucianists of the time. However Kim Manjung criticised Chu Hsi′s thoughts and clarified Chu Hsi′s errors in his Seopomanpil. Kim Man-jung was an objectivistic rationalist and opened a new horizon for the Korean literary criticism.
Kim Man-jung attached great importance to the Korean language for the Korean literature. He thought that it is impossible to translate a poem from one language to another and that the learning Chinese poetry of Korean is similar to the speakings of the parrot. He advocated that the true Korean literature was only Jeong Cheol′s Gwandongbyeolgok, Samiingok and Sokmiingok.
Kim Manjung as an aestheticist criticized Chu Hsi′s moralism and supported the poetry of the experts. Kim Man-jung also evaluated the impressive power of the novel and interested in the novelistic imagination. Kim Man-jung however was in the irremediable traditionalism of Orient. This was the limitations of his faculty.