The structural device of a dream vision employed in Kim Manjung's (1637-1692) Kuun mong [A dream of nine clouds] is intended to embody the Buddhist tenet that earthly pleasures are as illusory as a dream. The contents of the hero's dream, which occupies almost the entirety of the work, constitutes a kind of romance allowing phantasmic fulfillment of archetypical libidinous drives and the desire for social esteem. The elements of motivation and characterization that are common to most works of fiction are largely lacking. Instead, the hero's charisma, game playing, convenient coincidences and supernatural miracles conspire auspiciously to fulfill his supreme desires. The trappings of decadent feudalism and mundane Confucianism aid him in his quest to nullify the potential for selfawareness that the tragic vision of Buddhism offers. By adopting the structural device of a dream vision Kim Manjung sets himself the artistically impossible task of creating a romance within the framework of an antiromance without molding these antithetical entities into an artistically viable whole.


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pp. 27-41
Launched on MUSE
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