Kim Si Sup is a writer and philosopher who was active in the 15th century. From his childhood he wrote good poems and so he was called a “wonder boy”.
Disillusioned at the then society, he gave up government service and lived in vagabondage in monk’s costume.
Touring different regions, he wrote many poems.
Han In Yong, researcher of the Juche-Based Literature Institute of the Academy of Social Sciences, says:
“Kim Si Sup wrote the collection of short stories ‘Kumo Myths’ showing the development of the novel literature entering a new stage in the middle of the 15th century.
The collection contains five short stories known to have been written by Kim Si Sup in those days when he was living in Mt. Kumo in Kyongju from 1464. Of them, three deal with affection and ethics and two others with socio-political theme which reflected his philosophical view and his attitude and stand toward the then reality and life.
Especially the story ‘Ri Saeng’s Love’ showed the unreasonableness of the feudal ethics and morality and represented the desire for free love. So it is known as a typical work of the novel literature of the 15th century.”
Those works contained in the collection of short stories “Kumo Myths” show some characteristics in the aspect of artistic depiction as well. The characters of the stories are all persons living in the real world, but other characters related to them are usually unreal and fantastic ones such as dragon and the God.
Through the singular human relations, the writer explains the inside of the real life in a comparatively free way and deepens the themes and ideas. And the characters express their feelings in the form of narrative poems instead of dialogue on certain occasions of the stories.
The introduction of fantasy and poems to the creation of the collection of short stories “Kumo Myths” shows that the writer had inherited the experiences in the creation of artistic proses of the preceding times. But the stories in the collection including “Ri Saeng’s Love” clearly showed new aspects different from the preceding novels and stories in different aspects such as composition, specific description and vividness of the depiction of characters, making a great contribution to development of novels and stories.
For such ideological and artistic characteristics, the “Kumo Myths” constitutes a valuable legacy showing the features of the novel literature of the 15th century which entered a new stage of development.