The Cloud Dream of the Nine (Kuunmong) is a seventeenth century Korean novel set in ninth century China. On the surface it is an entertaining tale of a young man who travels through two lifetimes accompanied by eight beautiful maidens; at its core, it is philosophical novel about Buddhism and Confucianism. The author, Kim Manjung, wrote the novel while in exile, reputedly to console his mother. The result has pleased thousands of readers in the following ages.
Comparing Kuunmong and the Modern Novel
The Cloud Dream of the Nine is a pre-modern Asian novel, and as such, does not conform to the model of the novel as it formed in the modern West. For contemporary readers, both Western and Asian, the cultural challenge of Kim Manjungs (literary name: Seopo) work lies not in its remote historical setting which happens to be ninth century China but rather in its literary qualities, which reflect the world of seventeenth century Korea.