威廉·乔治·阿斯顿是英国乃至整个西方世界第一个派驻朝鲜的公使，此前此后他居留日本二十余年，对韩半岛与日本的历史、文学、语言乃至 现实社会都有仔细的观察与深入的研究。阿斯顿的论文《朝鲜通俗文学》与译文《崔致远》从不同向度对韩国文学予以展示与评述。他的日本文学观则 比较全面且颇为直观地体现在《日本文学史》一书中，相关论述线索清晰，叙述简洁。阿斯顿采用整体观照、个案分析与纵横对比相结合的方法，彰显韩国文学与日本文学各自不同侧面的特性，并着意探寻特性背后的成因。阿斯顿特别注意文学语言因适应社会发展与时代需要而体现出的生命力，亦充分关注韩国文学与日本文学对外来影响的接受与吸收。比较而言，阿斯顿对日本文学的研讨要全面、具体、深入得多，也更强调日本文 学自主吸取中国文学营养成分的能动性，及其适当改造中国文学加诸它的 影响；却无形中遮蔽了韩国文学不同于中国文学的独特之处，对韩国文学 的原创性以及改造、融合中国文学与文化因素的分析也不够充分。追根溯源，阿斯顿对韩语与日语的不同掌握程度直接影响了他对韩国文学与日本文学的定位与判断。
William George Aston (1841-1911) , a British diplomat and scholar, served as the United Kingdom’s consul-general in Korea from 1884 to 1885, who was the first consul-general sending to Korea from the whole western world. Before and after his stay in Korea, he lived in Japanfor more than 20years. He was an expert in the languages, literature, history and social reality of both Korea and Japan. In his thesis “Corean Popular Literature”(1890) and a translation article entitled “Chhoi-Chhung”(1900), Aston reveled different aspects of Korean literature, and he also gave his comments among the words and between the lines. As for his view on Japanese literature, it is concentrated in his book A History of Japanese Literature (1898), a general literature history with a tight system and grand architecture. The book boasted to have a clear and concise narrative clue, and had influenced scholars henceforth both in and out of Japan.Following the path of literature evolution, much attention of Aston’s was paid to literary language, and its adaption to the social development and the needs of times. Through combining the methodology of whole contemplation, case study and both vertical and horizontal comparisons, Aston highlighted the characteristics of Korean literature and Japanese literature in different aspects. He also took pains to explore the causes of such different characteristics. The acceptance and absorption of foreign influence, mainly from China, accomplished by Korean literature and Japanese literature was focused on as well. Aston studied Korean literature less thoroughly than he did in Japanese literature. Consequently, Aston had underestimated the value of Korean literature, especially its originality. Most probably that is because Aston had mastered the Japanese language far more fluently than the Korean language.