Encounter(1992. Berkely, Los Angeles, Oxford, University of California Press)

- Translated by OK Young Kim Chang from Hahn Moo-Sook's Korean original, Mannam
  [한무숙작 "만남"의 영역]
ISBN-13 : 9780520073814, ISBN : 0520073819(paper,$27.50)

http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/5740.html

Winner of the 1986 Grand Prix of the Republic of Korea Literature Award
This historical novel, Encounter (Mannam), by Hahn Moo-Sook, one of Asia's most honored writers, is a story of the resilience in the Korean spirit..   it is told through the experiences of Tasan, a high-ranking official and foremost Neo-Confucian scholar at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Because of Tasan's fascination with Western learning, then synonymous with Catholicism, he is exiled to a remote province for 18 years. In banishment he meets people from various social and religious backgrounds-Buddhist monks, peasants, shamans-whom he would not otherwise have met. The events of Tasan's life are effectively used to depict the confluence of Buddhist, Neo-Confucian, Taoist, and shamanistic beliefs in traditional Korea.

A subplot involves three young sisters, the daughters of a prominent Catholic aristocrat, and affords the reader vivid glimpses into Yi-dynasty women's lives, particularly those of palace ladies, scholars' wives, tavern keepers, shamans, and slaves. In contrast to the long-held Confucian stereotype of female subservience, this story illustrates the richness of women's contribution to Korean culture and tradition.

Encounter's detailed narrative provides a broad and informed view of nineteenth-century Korea, making it a highly useful book for courses on Korean literature and society. It will also be an engaging read for lovers of historical fiction.

이 소설은 1986년 한국문학대상을 받은 작가 한무숙의 역사소설 “만남”의 영역본으로 한국의 얼의 복원력을 보여주는 장편이다. 이 소설은 19세기 초 저명한 정다산을 둘러싼 여러 실제 인물과 역사적 사실에다 여러 허구적인 인물과 사실들을 더한 장편 소설이다. 다산은 당시 카톨릭교와 동일시되던 서학에 매료된 이유로 18년간의 귀양살이를 해야했다. 추방된 야지에서 보통때 접촉할 수 없었던 승려, 농부, 무당등 사회 각계각층의 인물들을 만난다. 이러한 다산의 생활을 이용하여 전통 한국의 불교, 유교, 도교 와 무교등 각 종교 사상이 묘사된다.

또 다른 주 인물들은 저명한 카톨릭 양반 가정의 세 규수들로, 이 들이 뜻밖에 만난 운명을 통하여 조선시대 궁중, 상류사회 여인들로 부터 주막의 아낙네, 무당, 하인들까지의 생활을 드려다 볼 수 있게 한다. 오랫동안 믿어왔던 기죽고 복종만 하는듯한 한국의 여인상과 그 문화에 상당히 대조가 되는 그림들이다. 이 소설은 철저한 연구를 통하여19세기의 고도한 지식인에서부터 천한 계급을 망라한 한국인들의 습관, 가치관을 소개한다.

Excerpts from various reviews published in journals, magazines, and newspapers:

이 소설은 출판된 후 여러 저명한 학술지와 잡지에서 호의적인 서평을 받았다. 아래에 몇가지 인용문을 들어본다.

"Recommended for literary collections" - Library Journal, October 1, 1992

"A richly detailed historical novel.." - Translation Review 40, 1992

" Based on meticulous research, Hahn recreates the life of the great scholar, popularly called Tasan, and his nephew, Ha-sang, who was martyred in 1839 " - Korea Newsreview, December 12, 1992

"...an instructive introduction for Westerners to an important chapter in the development of a vibrant Christianity" - First Things No. 31, 1993

" Hahn’s characters capture the reader’s attention, and the reader comes away with a sense of having really encountered the characters." - Korean Culture, Fall 1993

"one of the only books in English for non-specialists that deals with the Yi dynasty" - Far Eastern Economic Review

"As history, this book is the product of deep and meticulous research into various aspects of nineteenth-century life, customs, and values, ranging from the intellectual to the vulgar. In addition to her presentation of Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism, Catholicism, court and political life, and social structure, Hahn Moo-Sook also gives us real, detailed, and believable descriptions of wayside taverns, shamans and their performances, slaves and their lives, the rigors of travel without modern conveyances, sickness and death, clothing, food, and ignorant bigotry." - Journal of Asian Studies, May 1995

"The novel Encounter is distinguished by Hahn [Moo-Sook]’s ability to produce great fiction at the same time that she chronicles an actual historical event....Her style is as graceful and articulate as she was. Further, her descriptions are as sentient, spirited, and youthful as she was, even in her old age...[Hahn Moo-Sook] is still meeting us and she is living next to us through her work Encounter. The greatness of literature is none other than that."- Ch’oe In-ho, “Literature as Encounter and Discovery, as Exemplified by Hahn Moo-Sook’s Novel Encounter." In Young-Key Kim-Renaud and R. Richard Grinker (Eds.), Creation and Re-Creation: Modern Korean Fiction and Its Translation. Sigur Center Asia papers, No. 8 (2000). Washington, DC: GW Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

Written by the well-known author Hahn Moo-Sook (Han Musuk), Encounter is held in high esteem and has enjoyed a considerable popularity… [W]hile Encounter unfolds along the intellectual and religious trajectory of Korea in the early nineteenth century, it focuses on Tasan's psychological conflicts and spiritual growth. This emphasis on the interiority of the preeminent scholar’s individual self places it at odds with the more minjung-oriented literature of anonymous persons of the 1980s. …Encounter displays a holistic approach to history, and problematizes the question of Korean modernity as a fundamental question of state of being. One immediately notices that the novel's vision of modernity is distinct from the accepted Western version of secularism and anti-clericalism. … [R]eligious spirituality is equated with freedom rather than tyranny, and with progress rather than constraint. In fact, the protagonist's search for spiritual completion is depicted as heroic in the novel and it seems to parallel the political rhetoric of the 1980s which mythologizes as epic the people's struggle to achieve freedom.” JaHyun Kim Haboush, "In Search of HISTORY in Democratic Korea: The Discourse of Modernity in Contemporary Historical Fiction," in Kai-wing Chow, Kevin M. Doak, and Poshek Fu, eds.

Constructing Nationhood in Modern East Asia(Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001), 189 - 214.