Once upon a time, there was the Western singular. Then came pluralization, giving us modernities, philosophies (or, horrifically for some philosophers, rationalities), and also—histories of the novel. In Kinship Novels of Early Modern Korea, Ksenia Chizhova positions her study as a contribution to pluralizing the history of the novel, staking great contrastive claims vis-à-vis “the Western novel,” such as “the lineage novel reminds us that emotional complexity is not unique to the cultural logic of Western individualism,” (p. 156) or “subjectivity in the context of the Confucian moral system is distinct from the monadic Western Cartesian subject” (p. 123). The real treasure of this book is the lineage novel, a heroic protagonist in a story about court power, kinship norms, female literacy, and—rare creature!—an “elite vernacular” world in Sinitic Chosŏn Korea. A distinctive socioliterary phenomenon, the genre was gradually rediscovered since the 1960s...

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