|Genre||Novel, Family saga|
|mid-18th century (manuscripts)|
1791 (first printed edition)
Published in English
|1868, 1892; 1973–1980 (1st complete English translation)|
|Media type||Scribal copies/Print|
|Dream of the Red Chamber|
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Literal meaning||"Records of the Stone"|
Dream of the Red Chamber, also called The Story of the Stone, or Hongloumeng (traditional Chinese :紅樓夢; simplified Chinese :红楼梦; pinyin :Hónglóumèng), composed by Cao Xueqin, is one of China's Four Great Classical Novels. It was written some time in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing dynasty. Long considered a masterpiece of Chinese literature, the novel is generally acknowledged to be one of the pinnacles of Chinese fiction. "Redology" is the field of study devoted exclusively to this work.
The title has also been translated as Red Chamber Dream and A Dream of Red Mansions. The novel circulated in manuscript copies with various titles until its print publication, in 1791. Gao E, who prepared the first and second printed editions with his partner Cheng Weiyuan (程偉元) in 1791–92, added 40 additional chapters to complete the novel.
Red Chamber is believed to be semi-autobiographical, mirroring the rise and decline of author Cao Xueqin's own family and, by extension, of the Qing dynasty.As the author details in the first chapter, it is intended to be a memorial to the women he knew in his youth: friends, relatives and servants. The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese society. It contains within its pages a sampling of all of the major modes and genres of the Chinese literary tradition.
The novel is composed in written vernacular (baihua) rather than Classical Chinese (wenyan). Cao Xueqin was well versed in Chinese poetry and in Classical Chinese, having written tracts in the semi-wenyan style, while the novel's dialogue is written in the Beijing Mandarin dialect, which was to become the basis of modern spoken Chinese. In the early 20th century, lexicographers used the text to establish the vocabulary of the new standardised language and reformers used the novel to promote the written vernacular.
Dream of the Red Chamber's textual history is involved and complex, and has long been a subject of critical scrutiny, debate, and conjecture. It is known that Cao Xueqin, a member of an eminent family that had served the Qing dynasty emperors but whose fortunes had begun to decline, began writing Dream of the Red Chamber during the 1740s. By the time of his death in 1763 or 1764, Cao had completed the first 80 chapters of the novel and might have made early drafts of the remaining chapters. The first 80 chapters circulated during Cao's lifetime in hand-copied manuscripts, first among Cao's personal friends and a growing circle of aficionados, then eventually on the open market where they sold for large sums of money. The first printed version, published by Cheng Weiyuan and Gao E in 1791, contains edits and revisions not authorized by the author. It is possible that Cao destroyed the last chapters or that at least parts of Cao's original ending were incorporated into the 120 chapter Cheng-Gao versions, with Gao E's "careful emendations" of Cao's draft.
Up until 1791, the novel circulated in hand-copied manuscripts. Even amongst some 12 independent surviving manuscripts, small differences in some characters, rearrangements and possible rewritings cause the texts to vary a little. The earliest manuscripts end abruptly at the latest at the 80th chapter. The earlier versions contain comments and annotations in red or black ink from unknown commentators. These commentators' remarks reveal much about the author as a person, and it is now believed that some of them may even be members of Cao Xueqin's own family. The most prominent commentator is Zhiyanzhai, who revealed much of the interior structuring of the work and the original manuscript ending, now lost. These manuscripts, the most textually reliable versions, are known as "Rouge versions" (zhī běn脂本).
The early 80 chapters brim with prophecies and dramatic foreshadowings that give hints as to how the book would continue. For example, it is obvious that Lin Daiyu will eventually die in the course of the novel; that Baoyu and Baochai will marry; that Baoyu will become a monk. A branch of Redology, known as tànyì xué (探佚學), is focused on recovering the lost manuscript ending, based on the commentators' annotations in the Rouge versions, as well as the internal foreshadowings in the earlier 80 chapters.
Today, several manuscripts of the novel can be still found in locations in China and Europe. The "Jiaxu manuscript" (dated to 1754) is currently located in the Shanghai Museum, the "Jimao manuscript" (1759) is located in the National Library of China, and the "Gengchen manuscript" (1760) is located in the library of the Peking University. The Beijing Normal University and the Institute of Oriental Studies in St. Petersburg both also held manuscripts of the novel dating before the first print edition of 1791.
In 1791, Gao E and Cheng Weiyuan brought together the novel's first printed edition. This was also the first "complete" edition of The Story of the Stone, which they printed as the Illustrated Dream of the Red Chamber (繡像紅樓夢). While the original Rouge manuscripts have eighty chapters, the 1791 edition completed the novel in 120 chapters. The first 80 chapters were edited from the Rouge versions, but the last 40 were newly published.
In 1792, Cheng and Gao published a second edition correcting editorial errors of the 1791 version. In the 1791 prefaces, Cheng claimed to have put together an ending based on the author's working manuscripts.
The debate over the last 40 chapters and the 1791–92 prefaces continues to this day. Many modern scholars believe these chapters were a later addition. Hu Shih, in his 1921 essay Proofs on A Dream of the Red Chamber, argued that the ending was actually written by Gao E, citing the foreshadowing of the main characters' fates in Chapter 5, which differs from the ending of the 1791 Cheng-Gao version. However, during the mid-20th century, the discovery of a 120 chapter manuscript that dates well before 1791 further complicated the questions regarding Gao E and Cheng Weiyuan's involvement—whether they simply edited or actually wrote the continuation of the novel.Though it is unclear if the last 40 chapters of the discovered manuscript contained the original works of Cao, Irene Eber found the discovery "seems to confirm Cheng and Gao's claim that they merely edited a complete manuscript, consisting of 120 chapters, rather than actually writing a portion of the novel".
The book is usually published and read in Cheng Weiyuan and Gao E's 120 chapter version. Some modern editions, such as Zhou Ruchang's, do not include the last 40 chapters.
In 2014, three researchers using data analysis of writing styles announced that "Applying our method to the Cheng–Gao version of Dream of the Red Chamber has led to convincing if not irrefutable evidence that the first 80 chapters and the last 40 chapters of the book were written by two different authors."
In the novel's frame story, a sentient Stone, left over when the goddess Nüwa mended the heaven aeons ago, wants to enjoy the pleasures of the "red dust" (the mundane world). The Stone begs a Taoist priest and a Buddhist monk to take it with them to see the world. The Stone, along with a companion (in Cheng-Gao versions they are merged into the same character), is then given a chance to learn from human existence, and enters the mortal realm, reborn as Jia Baoyu ("Precious Jade") – thus "The Story of the Stone."
The novel provides a detailed, episodic record of life in the two branches of the wealthy, aristocratic Jia (贾) clan—the Rongguo House (榮國府) and the Ningguo House (寧國府)—who reside in large, adjacent family compounds in the capital. Their ancestors were made Dukes and given imperial titles, and as the novel begins the two houses are among the most illustrious families in the city. One of the Jia daughters is made a Royal Consort, and to suitably receive her, the family constructs the Daguanyuan, a lush landscaped garden, the setting for much of subsequent action. The novel describes the Jias' wealth and influence in great naturalistic detail, and charts the Jias' fall from the height of their prestige, following some thirty main characters and over four hundred minor ones. Eventually the Jia clan falls into disfavor with the Emperor, and their mansions are raided and confiscated.
As the carefree adolescent male heir of the family, Baoyu in this life has a special bond with his sickly cousin Lin Daiyu, who shares his love of music and poetry. Baoyu, however, is predestined to marry another cousin, Xue Baochai, whose grace and intelligence exemplify an ideal woman, but with whom he lacks an emotional connection. The romantic rivalry and friendship among the three characters against the backdrop of the family's declining fortunes form the central story.
Dream of the Red Chamber contains an extraordinarily large number of characters: nearly 40 are considered major characters, and there are over 400 additional ones.The novel is also known for the complex portraits of its many women characters. According to Lu Xun in the appendix to A Brief History of Chinese Fiction , Dream of the Red Chamber broke every conceivable thought and technique in traditional Chinese fiction; its realistic characterization presents thoroughly human characters who are neither "wholly good nor wholly bad", but who seem to inhabit part of the real world.
The names of the maids and bondservants are given in pinyin transcription and in David Hawkes' translation.
Honglou meng is a book about enlightenment [or awakening]. ... A man in his life experiences several decades of winter and summer. The most sagacious and wise is certainly not submerged in considerations of loss and gain. However, the experiences of prosperity and decline, coming together and dispersing [of family members and friends] are too common; how can his mind be like wood and stone, without being moved by all this? In the beginning there is a profusion of intimate feelings, which is followed by tears and lamentations. Finally, there is a time when one feels that everything he does is futile. At this moment, how can he not be enlightened?
The opening chapter of the novel describes a great stone archway and on either side a couplet is inscribed:
Truth becomes fiction when the fiction's true;
Real becomes not-real where the unreal's real.— The Story of the Stone
As one critic points out, the couplet signifies "not a hard and fast division between truth and falsity, reality and illusion, but the impossibility of making such distinctions in any world, fictional or 'actual.'"This theme is further reflected in the name of the main family, Jia (賈, pronounced jiǎ), which is a homophone with the character jiǎ 假, meaning false or fictitious; this is mirrored the surname of the other main faminly, Zhen (甄, pronounced zhēn), a homophone for the word "real" (真). It is suggested that the novel is both a realistic reflection and a fictional or "dream" version of Cao's own family.
Early Chinese critics identified its two major themes as those of romantic love, and of the transitoriness of earthly material values, as outlined in Buddhist and Taoist philosophies.Later scholars echoed the philosophical aspects of love and its transcendent power as depicted in the novel. One remarked that the novel is a remarkable example of the "dialectic of dream and reality, art and life, passion and enlightenment, nostalgia and knowledge."
The novel also vividly depicts Chinese material culture, such as medicine, cuisine, tea culture, festivities, proverbs, mythology, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, filial piety, opera, music, architecture, funeral rites, painting, classic literature and the Four Books. Among these, the novel is particularly notable for its grand use of poetry.
Since the establishment of Cao Xueqin as the novel's author, its autobiographical aspects have come to the fore. Cao Xueqin's clan was similarly raided in real life, and suffered a steep decline. Marxist interpretation starting in the New Culture Movement saw the novel as exposing feudal society's corruption and emphasized the clashes between the classes. Since the 1980s, critics have embraced the novel's richness and aesthetics in a more multicultural context.
In the title Hóng lóu Mèng (紅樓夢, literally "Red Chamber Dream"), "red chamber" can refer to the sheltered chambers where the daughters of a prominent family reside.It also refers to Baoyu's dream in chapter five, set in a "red chamber", a dream where the fates of many of the characters are foreshadowed. "Mansion" is one of the definitions of the Chinese character "樓" (lóu), but the scholar Zhou Ruchang writes that in the phrase hónglóu it is more accurately translated as "chamber".
In the late 19th century, Hong Lou Meng's influence was so pervasive that the reformer Liang Qichao attacked it along with another classic novel Water Margin as "incitement to robbery and lust", and for smothering the introduction of Western style novels, which he regarded as more socially responsible. The eminent scholar Wang Guowei, however, achieved a new method of literary interpretation in an innovative and path-breaking 1904 essay which invoked the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. Wang called the novel "the tragedy of tragedies", in contrast to the prosperous endings in most earlier drama and fiction. Wang further proclaims the novel as "[W]orthy of being considered as the one great masterpiece in the realm of Chinese art."
In the early 20th century, although the New Culture Movement took a critical view of the Confucian classics, the scholar Hu Shih used the tools of textual criticism to put the novel in an entirely different light, as a foundation for national culture. Hu and his students, Gu Jiegang and Yu Pingbo, first established that Cao Xueqin was the work's author. Taking the question of authorship seriously reflected a new respect for fiction, since the lesser forms of literature had not been traditionally ascribed to particular individuals.Hu next built on Cai Yuanpei's investigations of the printing history of the early editions to prepare reliable reading texts. The final, and in some respects most important task, was to study the vocabulary and usage of Cao's Beijing dialect as a basis for Modern Mandarin.
In the 1920s, scholars and devoted readers developed Hongxue, or Redology into both a scholarly field and a popular avocation. Among the avid readers was the young Mao Zedong, who later claimed to have read the novel five times and praised it as one of China's greatest works of literature.The influence of the novel's themes and style are evident in many modern Chinese prose works. The early 1950s was a rich period for Redology with publication of major studies by Yu Pingbo. Zhou Ruchang, who as a young scholar had come to the attention of Hu Shih in the late 1940s, published his first study in 1953, which became a best seller. But in 1954 Mao personally criticized Yu Pingbo for his "bourgeois idealism" in failing to emphasize that the novel exposed the decadence of "feudal" society and the theme of class struggle. In the Hundred Flowers Campaign, Yu came under heavy criticism but the attacks were so extensive and full of quotations from his work that they spread Yu's ideas to many people who would not otherwise have known of their existence.
During the Cultural Revolution, the novel initially came under fire, though it quickly regained its prestige in the following years. Zhou Ruchang resumed his lifework, eventually publishing more than sixty biographical and critical studies.In 2006, Zhou, who had long distrusted Gao E's editions, and the novelist Liu Xinwu, author of popular studies of the novel, joined to produce a new 80 chapter version which Zhou had edited to eliminate the Cheng-Gao emendations. Liu completed an ending that was supposedly more true to Cao's original intent. The novel continues to be influential on contemporary Chinese poets such as Middle Generation's An Qi, who paid homage to it in her poem To Cao Xueqin.
...one of the great monuments of the world's literature...
It is a major challenge to translate Cao's prose, which utilizes many levels of colloquial and literary language and incorporates forms of classic poetry that are integral to the novel.A 2014 study concluded that the work is a "challenge even to the most resourceful of translators, and the process of rendering it into another language is bound to involve more translation problems, techniques, and principles than the process of rendering any other literary work."
The first recorded attempt at translating the novel into English was done by the noted Protestant missionary and sinologist Robert Morrison (1782–1834) in 1812 when he translated part of chapter four of the novel for the purpose of having it published in the second volume of his 1812 book Horae Sinicae (this book was never published). In 1816, Morrison did publish a translation of a conversation from chapter 31 in his Chinese language textbook Dialogues and Detached Sentences in the Chinese Language. In 1819, a short excerpt from chapter 3 was translated by the famous British diplomat and sinologist John Francis Davis (1795–1890) and published in the London Journal Quarterly Review. Davis also published a poem from chapter 3 of the novel in 1830 in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society.
The next translation into English was a literal translation of selected passages prepared for foreigners learning Chinese published by the Presbyterian Mission Press of Ningbo in 1846.Edward Charles Bowra of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs published a translation of the first eight chapters in 1868 and H. Bencraft Joly of the first fifty-six chapters in 1892. The Reverend E.J. Eitel reviewed Joly's translation and condemned the novel, saying that Chinese read it "because of its wickedness." Herbert Giles, who John Minford called "one of the more free-thinking British consular officers," took a more favorable view and wrote a twenty-five page synopsis in 1885 that is still a "useful guide." Giles further highlighted it in his A History of Chinese Literature in 1901.
An abridged translation by Wang Chi-Chen which emphasized the central love story was published in 1929, with a preface by Arthur Waley. Waley said that in the passages which recount dreams "we feel most clearly the symbolic or universal value" of the characters. "Pao Yu", Waley continued, stands for "imagination and poetry" and his father for "all those sordid powers of pedantry and restriction which hamper the artist".In a 1930 review of Wang's translated version, Harry Clemons of The Virginia Quarterly Review wrote "This is a great novel", and along with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms , it "ranks foremost" among the novels of classic Chinese literature. Although Clemons felt "meaning was only fragmentarily revealed" in the English translated prose and that "many of the incidents" and "much of the poetry" were omitted, he nevertheless thought "at any rate the effort to read The Dream of the Red Chamber is eminently worth making." In 1958 Wang published an expansion on his earlier abridgement, though it was still truncated at 60 chapters.
The stream of translations and literary studies in the West grew steadily, building on Chinese language scholarship. The 1932 German translation by Franz Kuhnwas the basis of an abridged version, The Dream of the Red Chamber, by Florence and Isabel McHugh published in 1958, and a later French version. Bramwell Seaton Bonsall, completed a translation in the 1950s, Red Chamber Dream, a typescript of which is available on the web. Critic Anthony West wrote in The New Yorker in 1958 that the novel is to the Chinese "very much what The Brothers Karamazov is to Russian and Remembrance of Things Past is to French literature" and "it is beyond question one of the great novels of all literature." Kenneth Rexroth in a 1958 review of the McHugh translation, describes the novel as among the "greatest works of prose fiction in all the history of literature", for it is "profoundly humane".
The first complete English translation to be published was by David Hawkes some century and a half after the first English translation. Hawkes was already a recognized redologist and had previously translated Chu Ci when Penguin Classics approached him in 1970 to make a translation which could appeal to English readers. After resigning from his professorial position, Hawkes published the first eighty chapters in three volumes (1973, 1977, 1980).The Story of the Stone (1973–1980), the first eighty chapters translated by Hawkes and last forty by John Minford consists of five volumes and 2,339 pages of actual core text (not including Prefaces, Introductions and Appendices). The word count of the Penguin Classics English translation is estimated as 845,000 words. In a 1980 review of the Hawkes and Minford translation in The New York Review of Books , Frederic Wakeman, Jr. described the novel as a "masterpiece" and the work of a "literary genius". Cynthia L. Chennault of the University of Florida stated that "The Dream is acclaimed as one of the most psychologically penetrating novels of world literature." The novel and its author have been described as among the most significant works of literature and literary figures of the past millennium.
Extracts from the Hawkes translation were published as The Dream of the Red Chamber (New York: Penguin, Penguin 1960s Classics Series, 1996. ISBN 0-14-600176-1.)
The respected and prolific team Gladys Yang and Yang Hsien-yi also translated a complete version, A Dream of Red Mansions (Beijing: Foreign Language Press, three volumes, 1978–1980).
The sinologist Oldřich Král also undertook a Czech translation of the entire novel, Sen v červeném domě (Prague: Odeon, three volumes, 1986–1988). Slovak sinologist and philosopher Marina Čarnogurská translated into Slovak whole four volumes of the novel, Sen o Červenom pavilóne (Bratislava: Petrus, 2001-2004. ISBN 80-88939-25-9).
In 2014, an abridged English translation of Dream by writer Lin Yutang resurfaced in a Japanese library. Lin's translation, about half the length of the original, is reportedly not a literal one.
Owing to its immense popularity, numerous sequels and continuations to the novel have been published, even during the Qing era. There are currently more than thirty recorded sequels or continuations to the novel, including modern ones.Modern (post-1949) continuations tend to follow after the eightieth chapter, and include those by Zhang Zhi, Zhou Yuqing, Hu Nan and Liu Xinwu.
At least fourteen cinematic adaptations of the Dream of the Red Chamber have been made, including the 1944 film directed by Bu Wancang, the Hong Kong Shaw Brothers adaptation starring Sylvia Chang and Brigitte Lin, and the 1988 film directed by Xie Tieli (谢铁骊) and Zhao Yuan (赵元). This last film took two years to prepare and three years to shoot, and remains, at 735 minutes, the longest Chinese film ever made.
In 1981, Jiangsu Song and Dance Troupe premiered a dance drama version of Dream of the Red Chamber. A reworked version was performed in 1982 in Beijing by China Opera and Dance Drama Theatre featuring lead dancer Chen Ailian.
At least ten television adaptations have been produced (excluding numerous Chinese opera adaptations), and they include the renowned 1987 television series, which is regarded by many within China as being a near-definitive adaptation of the novel. It was initially somewhat controversial as few Redologists believed a TV adaptation could do the novel full justice. Producer and director Wang Fulin's decision in employing non-professional young actors was vindicated as the TV series gained enormous popularity in China. The series' success owes much to composer Wang Liping (王立平). He set many of the novel's classical verses to music, taking as long as four years to deliberate and complete his compositions. Other television versions include a 1996 Taiwanese series and a 2010 version directed by Fifth Generation director Li Shaohong.
Unlike the other great Chinese novels, particularly Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Journey to the West , the Dream of the Red Chamber has received little attention in the gaming world, with only two Chinese language visual novels having been released as of 2017. Hong Lou Meng and Hong Lou Meng: Lin Daiyu yu Bei Jingwang (Chinese :红楼梦：林黛玉与北静王) were both released by Beijing Entertainment All Technology (Chinese :北京娱乐通). The latter one was released on 8 January 2010, and it is an extended version of the first game, with the main heroines of the game fully voiced and additional CG+endings.
An English-language opera based on the novel in two acts was composed by Chinese American composer Bright Sheng, with libretto by Sheng and David Henry Hwang. The three-hour opera had its world premiere on 10 September 2016, by the San Francisco Opera.
Jia Baoyu is the principal character in the classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber.
Lin Daiyu is one of the principal characters of Cao Xueqin's classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is portrayed as a well-educated, intelligent, witty and beautiful young woman of physical frailness who is somewhat prone to occasional melancholy. The love triangle between Daiyu, Jia Baoyu and Xue Baochai forms one of the main threads of the book.
Lady Wang (王夫人) is a character in the classic Chinese 18th century novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is the wife of Jia Zheng, and mother of Jia Zhu, Jia Yuanchun and Jia Baoyu. She is the elder sister of Aunt Xue and hence the maternal aunt to Xue Baochai and Xue Pan.
Wang Xifeng is one of the principal characters in the classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She came from one of the Four Great Families, the Wang, and is known for her wit and intelligence, her vivacious manner, her great beauty, her multiple-faced personality and her fierce sense of fidelity. Her family had great faith in her and brought her up as a boy; in fact, the name “Xifeng” is considered masculine in her era. This accounts for her self-assuredness and straightforward ways, characteristics that do not quite fit with the traditional female role at the time.
Xue Baochai is one of the principal characters in the classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. Described as extremely beautiful and socially graceful, her attributes complement those of her cousin Lin Daiyu. Indeed, it has been suggested that the two women are complements of one another – each has exactly the attributes of Cao Xueqin's ideal woman which the other lacks.
Qin Zhong is a secondary character in Cao Xueqin's classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. He is Qin Keqing's younger brother and Jia Baoyu's best friend and schoolmate, who is extremely handsome.
Shi Xiangyun is a major fictional character in the classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the characters known as the Twelve Beauties. She is Baoyu's younger second cousin by the Dowager, Grandmother Jia. Xiangyun is the favorite grandniece of the Dowager, Baoyu's grandmother.
Jia Tanchun is the younger half-sister of Jia Baoyu and a major character in the 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is the daughter of Jia Zheng and his concubine, Concubine Zhao. Tanchun is a very clever and capable person, once temporarily managing all household and economical affairs of the Rongguo Mansion when Wang Xifeng had a miscarriage. Despite this achievement, however, the fact she is the daughter of a concubine is still such a burden that she often claims Lady Wang, Baoyu's mother, as her own. Tanchun is also the "founder" of the White Crabapple Poetry Club, a private poetry club for the residents of Prospect Garden.
Miaoyu is an important character in the 18th century novel Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the classics of Chinese fiction. She is a young, beautiful but aloof Buddhist nun, compelled by circumstances to become a nun, and shelters herself under the nunnery in Prospect Garden. She likes Zhuangzi's article.
Jia Xichun is a primary character in the 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. Her father is Jia Jing, a son of Jia Daihua. She is the sister of Jia Zhen, de facto head of the Ningguo House, and Baoyu's third cousin. When she was little, her mother died, and Lady Wang brought her to live in the Rongguo Mansion. A devout Buddhist, she is religious since a small child and also a gifted painter. When Granny Liu visits the Prospect Garden, the Dowager commissions her to make a painting of the Garden for the guest. In Gao E's continuation, after the fall of the house of Jia, Xichun becomes a Buddhist nun in place of Miaoyu.
Jia Qiaojie is a character in the 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is the only child of Jia Lian and Wang Xifeng. She remains a child throughout much of the novel. She is named after the Weaver Girl by Granny Liu, hoping the name will give some good luck and fortune.
Grandmother Jia, née Shi, so often also called Dowager Shi or simply the Dowager, is a major character in the 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is the daughter of Marquis Shi of Jinling. She is also Baoyu and Daiyu's grandmother and the oldest and most respected authority of the Jia Clan. A doting figure, it was she who arranged for Daiyu, her only "outside" grandchild, to come to the Rongguo Mansion. It was with her help that Baoyu and Daiyu became extremely close as childhood playmates, and eventually, kindred spirits and lovers.
Dream of the Red Chamber, first released in 1987, is a television series produced by CCTV adapted from the classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. It gained enormous popularity for its music, cast, and plot adaptation. It was first filmed in Beijing in Mandarin, then the series was dubbed in Cantonese and Shanghainese. The series is 36 episodes long.
The Daguanyuan, variously translated as Grand View Garden or Prospect Garden, is a large landscaped interior garden in the classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber, built within the compounds of the Rongguo Mansion. It is the setting for much of the story.
Dream of the Red Chamber is a 1944 Chinese film directed by Bu Wancang. It is an adaptation of the classic 18th century Qing-era novel by Cao Xueqin.
Hua Xiren is a major fictional character from the classic 18th century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is the chief maid of Jia Baoyu, the novel's protagonist.
The Dream of Red Mansions is a 2010 Chinese television series, produced by Han Sanping and directed by Fifth Generation director Li Shaohong. It is a new adaptation of the classic 18th century novel Dream of the Red Chamber. The series, comprising 50 episodes, made its debut on 6 July 2010 on 9 terrestrial networks across China.
A Dream of Red Mansions is a Chinese serial feature film produced by Beijing Film Studio, released in 6 parts between 1988 and 1989. Directed by Xie Tieli (谢铁骊) and Zhao Yuan (赵元), it is a cinematic adaptation of the 18th-century Chinese novel of the same name. The film took two years to prepare and three years to shoot, and remains, at 735 minutes, the longest ever made in the People's Republic of China.
Dream of the Red Chamber is a Taiwanese TV series based on Cao Xueqin's acclaimed 18th-century novel of the same name. Filmed mostly in Shanghai, the TV series was first broadcast on Chinese Television System from November 1996 to October 1997.
Wang Fulin is a Chinese television director and producer best known for his work Dream of the Red Chamber and Romance of the Three Kingdoms, both adapted from Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.
In chapter 1, after a second perusal of the book, Voiding-the-Void Daoist (supposedly its first reader) concludes that "its main theme is about love." "Love" is perhaps an inadequate rendering of qing, whose range of associations includes desire, affection, feelings, emotions, sentiments, sentience. It is also linked to subjective consciousness, imagination, aesthetic sensibility. Cao Xueqin idealizes qing and raises its transcendent dimenion to an almost metaphysical level; in doing so he also emphasizes lyrical self-containment, the power of the mind to dream and imagine a world, and the conception of the romantic-aesthetic as an alternate sphere of existence. [...] To know love is to apprehend its implacable negation.
The eighteenth-century masterpiece, The Story of the Stone (Shitouji, also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber [Hongloumeng]), is probably the most remarkable example of this dialectic of dream and reality, art and life, passion and enlightenment, nostalgia and knowledge.
... a masterpiece that has been called the 'book of the millennium' ...
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