Having spent some time hunting down the Manchu texts, I managed to secure a small selection of Manchu literature. Some of these are from the old Joseon Dynasty Bureau of Interpreters to train Manchu language interpreters, the others original Manchu literature. The Bureau texts were somewhat
easier to obtain as they were reprinted in Korea, the Nogeoldae in 90s and the others in 50s. (Out of print for a long time indeed, I had to make copies out of the library book) Now, they are all "crutches" in a way that they contain facing interlinear translations into either Middle, Late Middle or Modern Korean.
I'm still hunting for more texts, particularly the Veritable Records
and Tanggu Meyen
, but here's what I came to secure so far. I hope they may be of interest to those keen on the arcane knowledge.
And well, given that few people bother to read Manchu nowadays, finding the hard-to-find texts itself is worth mentioning.
Bureau of Interpreters (These don't carry Manchu titles)
* 『小兒論』(Discourses of a Small Child)
* 『八歲兒』(Eight-years Old Child) - these two books are fairly short works to train the basics of Manchu. Both contain stories of a genius kid who answers difficult questions and are rewarded for their genius. They were legacy texts from the old Jurchen department of the Bureau as it was reformed to Manchu, and I heard these tales have parallels in other Tungusic folktales such as among the Evenki, but I haven't had a chance to verify it. Woodcut print facsimile.
* 『淸語老乞大』(Mr. Cathayan or "Chinese Native") - a phrasebook discussed at some length above. Woodcut print facsimile.
* 『三譯總解』(The Romance of Three Kingdoms) - a selection of the enormously popular Chinese novel into Manchu by Kicungge, paralleled with Middle Korean in order to be used as a reader. I have two copies, one in the modern Romanised edition, the other in the original woodcut facsimile. These four books are quite jokingly referred as 淸學四書 "Four Books of Qing Studies", an apparent pun on the "Four Books" of Confucian Canon.
* 『同文類解』(Thematic Exegesis of Languages Combined) - Chinese, Middle Korean and Manchu dictionary in thematic categories. This is less of a dictionary as it's difficult to find an entry in the thematic groupings (rather than alphabetical) but more of a wordlist that the interpreters might have used to fill in his vocabulary in specific areas. Woodcut print facsimile, and the Manchu words appear only as transcription into Korean script. These five books complete the Manchu curriculum of the Bureau.
* 『大遼國史Dailiyoo gurun i suduri bithe』(History of the Khitan Empire) - The Emperor Qianlong ordered the histories of three nomadic empires who conquered over China, that is: Khitan Liao, Jurchen Jin and Mongol Yuan. This is the Khitan Liao, apparently composed as a separate work from the Chinese official history. Romanised and interlinear with Modern Korean, no Manchu script.
* 『舊滿洲檔Ejehe dangse』 (Old Manchu Records) - the early pre-Qing times of Nurhaci and his people. Romanised and interlinear with Modern Korean, no Manchu script.
* Nishan saman i bithe (The Nissan Shamaness) - somewhat later Manchu tale of a powerful Shamaness. Romanised and interlinear with Modern Korean, with the manuscript facsimile as the appendix.