[KS] Re: Yuldo

Mickey Hong hong at HUMnet.UCLA.EDU
Mon Feb 28 04:17:07 EST 2000

For clarification, Hong Kiltong isn't a purely fictional character--he's mentioned
in _Choso^n wangjo sillok_.

The latest attempt by Prof. So^l So^nggyo^ng of Yonsei U. has been to identify Hong
KT as Oyake Akahachi in _Kumejima no aji monogatari_ ; thus, locating Yuldo
(Lu-tao) as Okinawa.  It's obviously a nationalistic yet fascinating project.

One must reflect the present condition when interpreting a text but s/he must also
historicize it.  I agree with Frank's point that _Hong KT cho^n_ was a radical
piece of work for its time.

Is _Hong KT cho^n_ not only the 1st Korean vernacular fiction but also the 1st
colonial allegory as John accused?  Is Yuldo, indeed, another microcosm of Choso^n
that upholds primogeniture?

If one has read classical Chinese narratives like _San Kuo chi_, _Shui Hu chi_, &
_Chin Ping Mei_, one would realize that what seems like a modern formula in _Hong
KT cho^n_ is actually an ultra-traditional one of conquest (both territorial &
sexual) in a tale of adventure before there was any consciousness of the self/other
vis-a`-vis East/West.  It's not about colonial desire as much as general human

An artistic analogy in the spirit of interdiscipline: it would be a mistake to
declare what's bizarre & grotesque in Hieronymus Bosch's _Last Judgment_ triptych
as Surrealism.

A single political reading of a text is to diminish its literary value.  The
original story & purpose of _Hong KT cho^n_ seems less relevant in light of how &
why it has been retold/reutilized in so many ways and forms for what

One can download a standard modern version of _H KT Cho^n_  in Korean from:


Mickey Hong



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