Kim Il Sung University
Received December 31, 2019; Revised version received February 1, 2020; Accepted February 28, 2020
This paper examines Kŭmo sinhwa, the collection of stories by the fifteenth-century Chosŏn philosopher and writer Kim Sisŭp (1435–1493) within the history of world literature by focusing on its unique contribution as one of the earliest forms of prose fiction and wider impact on the literary tradition of other countries. Kim’s Kŭmo sinhwa was a work of prose fiction that appeared at a relatively early period in history and an important work that reflects the principles and development of the literary tradition in Chosŏn. The stories in Kŭmo sinhwa, descriptive of the tendencies and aims of its people and filled with trenchant criticisms of social problems, hold their rightful place in the canon of fifteenth-century world literature. Kŭmo sinhwa is also notable in the influence that it has exercised on foreign literary traditions. Kim’s stories attracted a devoted readership in Japan, and they played a pivotal role in the emergence of the Japanese story collection Otogibōko.
Key Words : Kŭmo sinhwa, Kim Sisŭp, literary tradition, Chosŏn, world literature, prose fiction