The title page of Gale's translation
The title page of Gale's translation

The Cloud Dream of the Nine (Hangul: 구운몽, Hanja: 九雲夢) by Kim Man-jung is a 17th-century Korean novel set in the Chinese Tang Dynasty[1] (although there have been some arguments about whether Kim was the original author [2]). It has been called “one of the most beloved masterpieces in Korean literature."[3] It was the first literary work from Korea to be translated into English, by James Scarth Gale in 1922. Richard Rutt's 1974 translation is entitled A Nine Cloud Dream. In 2019, Penguin Classics published a new translation by Heinz Insu Fenkl entitled The Nine Cloud Dream.[4]

The Cloud Dream of the Nine is written in a philosophical style, expressing Confucianist and Buddhist concepts.[5] In the preface of the book (first written in 1922), Elspet K.R. Scott describes the book as being about the romance of polygamy;[6][7][8] others believe that it is meant to be a cautionary tale about the illusory nature of Earthly delights and the fleeting nature of the fulfilment of "libidinous drives".[9]

The oldest existing text of the book was written in Classical Chinese.[10][11][12][13]

In popular culture

References

  1. ^ Kuunmong: The Cloud Dream of the Nine Man-jung Kim, James S. Gale "a story of true faith tested by worldly ambition, set in Tang Dynasty China; a love story, and a classic expression of Confucian values in conflict with Buddhist beliefs."
  2. ^ Fenkl, Heinz Insu. "Kuunmong A Translator's Note". Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature and Culture. 7 (2014): 357–362.
  3. ^ "Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2019 Book Preview". The Millions. 2019-01-08. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  4. ^ "The Nine Cloud Dream by Kim Man-jung | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  5. ^ "Introduction to Kuunmong: The Cloud Dream of the Nine | Kurodahan Press". www.kurodahan.com. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  6. ^ Yetts, W. Perceval (April 1925). "The Cloud Dream of the Nine. By Kim Man-choong. Translated by J. S. Gale. 8¾ × 5½, 307 pp. + 16 illustrations. London : D. O'Connor, 1922". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 57 (2): 355–356. doi:10.1017/S0035869X00068982. ISSN 2051-2066.
  7. ^ Kim, Man-Choong (2016). The Cloud Dream of the Nine. Literature Translation Institute of Korea. ISBN 9788993360844.
  8. ^ Yetts, W (April 1925). "The Cloud Dream of the Nine". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 57 (2): 355–356. doi:10.1017/S0035869X00068982.
  9. ^ Yun, Chang-sik. "The structure of the Kuun mong [A dream of nine clouds]". Korean Studies. 5 (1981): 27–41.
  10. ^ Ian Philip McGreal Great literature of the Eastern World: the major works of prose 1996 Page 429 "One proclaims that The Cloud Dream of the Nine was originally written in Korean and later translated into Chinese. The other insists on the opposite view, arguing that the oldest extant woodblock version that can be found today is written in ..."
  11. ^ Peter H. Lee Sourcebook of Korean Civilization: From the 17th century to the ... 1996 -- Volume 2 - Page 11 "Koreans still wrote poetry in classical Chinese, conforming to rigid Chinese rhyme schemes, but they also wrote more and ... and novel-length stories that deliberately blurred the line between the real and the imagined (A Nine Cloud Dream)."
  12. ^ Peter H. Lee, William Theodore De Bary Francisca Cho Bantly Embracing Illusion: Truth and Fiction in The Dream of the Nine Clouds- 1996
  13. ^ Sources of Korean Tradition: from the sixteenth to the twentieth ... - 2000 -- Page 10 "... deliberately blurred the line between the real and the imagined (A Nine Cloud Dream). Those seventeenth-century stories may have been originally written in classical Chinese, but hangul versions were circulating by the eighteenth century, "