Embracing Illusion

Truth and Fiction in The Dream of the Nine Clouds

By Francisca Cho

Subjects: Asian Studies
Series: SUNY series, Toward a Comparative Philosophy of Religions
Paperback : 9780791429709, 262 pages, July 1996
Hardcover : 9780791429693, 262 pages, July 1996

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Table of contents

Laurie L. Patton and Paul J. Griffiths

1. Illusion and Imagination

2. Narratives and the Autobiographical Process

3. The Symmetry of Illusion and Reality

4. A Metaphysics in Search of Expression

5. Philosophy in Narrative Action

6. Remythologizing the Comparative Enterprise


Selected Bibliography



Embracing Illusion is an interdisciplinary study of a classic Korean novel. It argues that a work of narrative fiction can be taken seriously as Buddhist philosophical discourse. The capacity of fiction to speak on behalf of Buddhist truths is set in the larger context of how the literary imagination approaches the exploration of reality.

Francisca Cho Bantly is Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at Georgetown University.


"There are few works on Korean literature. This work provides a first look at the development of fiction in Asia. The topic is a difficult one since it requires that the writer cover wide areas of Asia and the cultural patterns that belong to those far flung places. Embracing Illusion has much to commend it. " — Lewis Lancaster, University of California, Berkeley

"I was fascinated by Bantly's discussion of the themes of illusion and 'life as a dream. ' Many interesting parallels might be drawn between that theme's Buddhistic manifestation in this text and its manifestation in a number of the Western texts with which I have worked. Also, an invaluable feature of this book is its concluding reflections on the 'fear of ontology' in the Western academy. This alone is an important contribution to current discussions of methodology and scholarly purpose in religious studies. " — Eric J. Ziolkowski, Lafayette College