Score One for the Dancing Girl presents more than a hundred stories from an early-nineteenth-century collection of yadam stories, the Kimun ch’onghwa (“Compendium of Records of Hearsay”). Prose tales that feature historical people and places but may also include fantastical elements, the yadam stories in this volume feature ghosts and magic, courtesans and sex, and court politics. They constitute both an entertaining literary collection and a rich treasure trove of information about life in seventeenth and eighteenth-century Korea.
The first volume in an ongoing series of translations of classic Korean literature by the Canadian missionary James Scarth Gale (1863–1937), Score One for the Dancing Girl includes the original literary Sinitic (hanmun) text and Gale’s English translation. Both the hanmun and English are extensively annotated. Introductory essays by Ross King and Si Nae Park discuss the yadam genre, Gale’s life and career, and the ways in which his background as a Christian missionary affected the translations.