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The Dream of the Red Chamber: Hung Lou Meng

Paperback - 17 July 2015
Joly, H. Bencraft (Translator)
Xueqin, Cao (Author)
ISBN-13 : 9781515121985
Rp 439,000
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Description

Dream of the Red Chamber, also called The Story of the Stone, composed by Cao Xueqin, is one of China's Four Great Classical Novels. It was written sometime in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. It is considered a masterpiece of Chinese literature and is generally acknowledged to be the pinnacle of Chinese fiction. "Redology" is the field of study devoted exclusively to this work. In the opening chapter of the novel, a couplet is introduced: Truth becomes fiction when the fiction's true; Real becomes not-real where the unreal's real. 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. In the novel's frame story, a sentient Stone, abandoned by the goddess Nuwa when she mended the heavens aeons ago, begs a Taoist priest and a Buddhist monk to bring it with them to see the world. The Stone, along with a companion (while in Cheng-Gao versions they are merged into the same character), was then given a chance to learn from the human existence, and enters the mortal realm. The main character of the novel is the carefree adolescent male heir of the family, Jia Baoyu. He was born with a magical piece of "jade" in his mouth. In this life he 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 exemplifies 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 forms the main story in the novel.

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