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Narrative of the existence of historically-based, Seonhyeop(仙俠) female characters in Korean full-length novels

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2023, (63), pp.197-232
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose
  • Received : October 16, 2023
  • Accepted : November 2, 2023
  • Published : November 30, 2023

Kim, Sooyoun 1

1서울여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this article is to examine the narrative characteristics of the female character of the Seonhyeop(仙俠, hermit martial arts) type, which became popular in the 18th century, and to examine the meaning of the appearance of this type of character in terms of the narrative grammar and genre possibilities of Korean full-length novels. If we look at the history of Korean classical novels, we can discover the phenomenon of meaningful character types being developed in earnest around specific genres in each era. Representative examples include ‘fantastic existence’ in biographical romance novels that appeared after the 10th century and ‘evil woman-type characters’ in early full-length novels after the 17th century. In the 18th century, Korean full-length novels with a large volume were popular, and one of the newly emerging character types at this time was the Seonhyeop type character. This character can be further classified into good and evil people, Confucian and Taoist people, civilized and martial people, internal and external, Taoist and martial arts practitioners, and so on. However, one character does not embody only one type, but is embodied by combining several types of personality. Among them, if we divide the narrative of the existence of Seonhyeop female character character based on history into the image of Taoist and martial arts, the narrative of the loser of history, and the discourse of loyalty in rebellion. Each shows the characteristics of combining peripheral properties, recalling memories of others, and aiming for the voice of non-relationship and marginal members. These character characteristics form one of the important narrative grammars of Korean full-length novels, and reveal the possibility of genre expansion in that they are connected to the epics of heroism and martial arts novels that appeared in later generations. In particular, we can discover the early aspects of martial arts novels that are still popular to this day. Representative examples include the way of revealing the ability for Seonhyeop, the establishment of relationships centered on factions, and the nature of the argument between right and evil. The highlighting of the character of the Seonhyeop type can be said to be a discourse event in that it discovers and embodies an object that had not been seen and a voice that had not been heard in previous novels. The world expressed in language makes invisible beings visible and reorganizes the proportion and division ratio of voices participating in the world we live in. It is a self-organizing method of the novel that is unrelated to the author’s conscious intention. Among the voices aimed at by the author, the novel’s expansion of the voices of new characters testifies to the situation at the time and at the same time reflects the voices distributed among members of society. It can be said to be an event that brings about a change in the share of.

Citation status

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