The [Silla] Sui chŏn is a lost collection of "tales of the extraordinary," fragments of which have been preserved in works dating from the thirteenth century to the sixteenth century. Its title affords much scope for speculation, and its authorship and date are still uncertain.

Presented are annotated translations of eleven fragments from the Sui chŏn and compared are several of its tales with corresponding versions in Iryŏn's Samguk yusa. It is pointed out that the most interesting story, a fictitious episode in the life of Ch'oe Ch'iwŏn (b. 857), was influenced by the Yu hsien-k'u, China's first love story (circa 700) and an important specimen of the T'ang period literary genre known as ch'uan-ch'i hsiao-shuo (tales of the miraculous).

Approaching the problem of title and authorship from various angles, it is concluded that the oldest version of this work dates from the early Koryŏ period, and that the author of the definitive version is undoubtedly Pak Illyang (d. 1096).


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