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Succession and Popularity - A Study on the Mode of Existence of Printed Ancient Fiction -

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2015, (58), pp.5-45
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : July 18, 2015
  • Accepted : August 5, 2015

Jang, You Jeong 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study aims at comprehending the framework of the history of research on printed ancient fiction so that it could come up with an approach different from the conventional ones and open a window for diverse possibilities for research into printed ancient fiction. It was assumed that ancient fiction developed from the late Joseon Dynasty, which deserves to be called the “novel,” and eventually made it possible for Korea to have modern novel. And under this framework, printed ancient fiction worked as a bridge so that it was established as a focal point of continuity and succession of ancient fiction. However, if the studies of the printed ancient fiction is only understood as a process of “proving both the succession of ancient fiction and its characteristic as novel,” the intrinsic identity of the literary genre can hardly be elucidated. Hence, the present study has attempted to analyze the cause of popularity of printed ancient fiction in order to find a way to grasp the intrinsic features of printed ancient fiction apart from its value as novel, and found out that ancient fiction gained currency at the juncture when the new novel lost its power as a new literary genre. This currency results from the “popular nature” of printed ancient fiction that enabled many people to get access to easy and entertaining stories. From the 1910s, printed ancient fiction came to play the role of a “storybook” and produced “stories centering on events” that could attract a great number of readers. With its stories mainly intended to arouse interest among many people, printed ancient fiction showed more diverse ways to help readers understand human nature and sought a sense of affinity from them. Another factor for its popularity was that it was translated into the contemporary language. Translation of old stories into the new vernacular language contributed to attracting readers from more diverse backgrounds.

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