A Study on 18th Century Joseon Literati Reading and Criticism of Chinese Ancient Novels
This paper is a study of various views of Chinese novel reading attitude, appreciation and criticism by writers of the 18th century Joseon Dynasty. The resulting conclusions are as follows: First, the novel criticism of 18th century Joseon writers is mainly focused on the Sidaqishu(四大奇書), which seems to be related to the revitalization of the publishing and translation industries of the time, as well as a measure of which works were most popular at that time.
Second, it is also limited to the Sidaqishu(四大奇書) in terms of content criticism.
Third, if the novel’s value was recognized as the positive value of utility until the 17th century, there were few criticisms of the positive value of utility in the 18th century. This is a result of reflecting the social atmosphere of the time.
The problem of this study began with the question of how to expand the horizons of classical Chinese literature research and comparative literature between Korea and China. It is a truly dangerous idea to think that the interpretation of the book is outdated or unrelated to today’s sense of real problems, given that it is a relic of the past. Studying the classics is an act of ceaselessly speaking to the wisdom of our ancient ancestors, which has been embedded in our bodies, and of casting a serious question about the fundamental value of human existence. In the face of the talk of the crisis of humanities today, one can expect that the Korean classics will enable understanding of the culture and substance of traditional society, as well as the history of knowledge exchange between Korea and China, and that they will be a good research example in the comparative research of Korea and China, thus making a significant contribution academically. Moreover, at the end of this project, the individual and comprehensive study of Chinese novels in the 18th century’s various literary writings will eventually be a step forward in the study of traditional Korean literature and the mixed study of Chinese classical novels, and the exchange of Korean and Chinese literature with each other will further embody each other’s research achievements. Furthermore, if the Chinese literature community is interested in the research, it will contribute to providing multi-disciplinary research tasks and boosting research exchanges through reading Chinese novels and enhancing the value of reviews outside of China.
China and Korea have a cultural character that has both congregations and combinations against the backdrop of East Asian cultures. In my view, the task of examining sentences that read the same book 200 years ago and commented frankly on its impressions will not be merely to establish the relationship of influence, but also to find the independent aspects and meaning of our culture and to present the humanities achievements that live up to the cultural realities of the current turbulent Korea-China relations. This will also increase academic efficiency through links between classical and contemporary, closed but open academic exchanges.