기획논문 - 국문학 연구의 쟁점과 과제 (Ⅳ) ‧ 5

소설작품 평가의 문제 -고소설을 중심으로-


Issues Involved in Evaluating Fictional Works


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In evaluating literary works, one must consider the evaluation of the author's thought contained within the work-that is, the theme-and the evaluation of the author's ability-that is, technique. The theme must be sound and original, and the realization of this theme must be achieved satisfactorily in order for the work to be excellent. Also important, though, is the insight and capability of the judge, who must be able to properly grasp the work's theme and accurately determine how well the theme is realized in the work. The task of evaluating literary works can ultimately be said to depend on the literary views of critics.
In the case of fictional works, there are various methods of realizing the theme. Satirical fiction, for example, introduces a negative character as the protagonist and makes paradoxical claims. Fiction portrays human life in three dimensions, and thus, if it is to successfully manifest its theme, must contain description of the personalities or psyches of the characters, description of the social situation, and the elaborate structural techniques required to connect events. This sort of technique of realization depends on the ability of the author.
In order to fairly evaluate a work of fiction, a proper understanding of the work must come first. In the case of classical novels, The Tale of Hong Gildong was highly evaluated as a masterpiece that is filled with the author's innovative thought. However, an analysis of the work reveals that the theme is the idea that capable individuals can always succeeded, unhindered by the system. Also revealed is the author's lack of skill in realizing this theme. In this regard, the evaluation of The Tale of Hong Gildong must be rethought. On the other hand, A Dream of Nine Clouds is a work that shows exceptional skill on the part of the author. The work may be evaluated as a masterpiece in that the author delves deep into the problem of human existence through the clever construct that contrasts the real world of Seongjin and the dream world of Yang Soyu.
The Tale of Chunhyang is known as a representative masterpiece of classical Korean fiction. By comparison, Dream of the Jade Chamber has been neglected. Both works have a female protagonist of gisaeng status who refuses to give bed service to a government official and preserves her chastity for the man she loves. In terms of the technique used to realize this theme, though, Dream of the Jade Chamber is superior. In this regard, classical fiction must be reevaluated.


1. 문학작품의 평가론의 문제
 2. 소설작품의 평가론
 3. 고소설의 작품평가 문제
  3.1 <홍길동전>과 <구운몽>
  3.2 <춘향전>과 <옥루몽>
 4. 맺음말


  • 서대석 Seo, Dae-seok. 서울대


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