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A Comparative Study on tales of ratiocination of Lawsuit Novel Style and Detective Novel Style

Jungok Lee 1

1숙명여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study started from a question on the view that Lee Hae‐jo’s Ssangokjeok is the beginning of Korean tales of ratiocination and tales of ratiocination during the enlightenment period are merely the results of one sided import from the West. Furthermore, taking note of the fact that tales of ratiocination in the enlightenment period are divided into two styles (lawsuit novel style rooted into lawsuit novels in the Chosun Dynasty and detective novel style influenced by Western mysteries), this study made a comparative analysis of their narrative characteristic and existential pattern in connection to the social semantic network that caused the appearance of tales of ratiocination during the enlightenment period. While detective‐novel‐style tales of ratiocination deal with modern crimes seeking others’ property or life, lawsuit‐novel‐style ones describe immoral crimes involving conflicts and grudges within a community such as family and town. Furthermore, different from Western ones, Korean tales of ratiocination during the enlightenment period do not have a professional detective. Detectives in detective‐novel‐style tales of ratiocination are public figures such as policeman, royal emissary, and governor, but in lawsuit‐novel‐style tales of ratiocination one of characters in the mystery plays the role of a detective temporarily and solves the crime. In addition, both detective novel‐style and lawsuit‐novel‐style tales of ratiocination use inversion, which inverts the order of the cause and the result, as a narration strategy stimulating the reader’s curiosity. In detective‐novel‐style tales of ratiocination, in which the narration of search is dominant, the motive and cause of crimes are uncovered through abduction as the detective collects fragmented pieces of information like a puzzle game. Accordingly, the reader is induced to read the narration to the end with strong curiosity about the detective’s investigation that digs up the whole story of a crime. On the contrary, lawsuit‐novel‐style tales of ratiocination, which are close to crime stories, take the narrative structure that inverts the causal relation of a criminal case. As a result, the characteristic of information stimulating the reader’s curiosity varies among novels, and narrative tension is also relatively low.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.