º 紅樓夢 [Hónglóu Mèng] â Download by º Cao Xueqin Excellent Starter Dream of the Red Chamber Story of the Stone two names for the same work.
This is an abridged English version of an amazing Chinese novel called Dream of the Red Chamber or Story of the Stone I would recommend reading this if you would like to know the general story, which you should, as it is one of the most important novels in history This book is HUGE in China it is considered, along with one or two other works, the pinnacle of Chinese literature And it is much nuanced than the Romeo and Juliet story it is sold as The story is of the downfall of a great house and how it affects the young men and women living there It is remarkable in that it is so much about women at a time when women s lives were considered unimportant It is also defies Confucian s in several ways, though adheres to them in others Most points of the author s biography are unknown but it is thought that he belonged to a wealthy family that, much like the family in the book, came down in the world The book was completed by someone else It is also a good starter version if you are interested in testing it before you delve into the much longer unabridged version Which really, you must read After reading this, I read the David Hawkes translation 5 volumes which I highly recommend.
Edit I just wanted to add that the main reason I recommend this book as a starter is that it gave me in many places the same emotional punch as the original, which I think it a remarkable achievement considering how greatly it has been condensed.
One of the greatest masterpieces of literature, reading this was an incredible experience Poignant, funny, metaphysical, tragic, allegorical, psychologically profound, and highly entertaining, it bridges the worlds of heaven and earth, dreams and reality, and is a truly astonishing achievement Reading does not get any better than this it really is up there with Don Quixote, The Divine Comedy, War and Peace, Shakespeare, and anything else you might name As one Western scholar on the work noted, to appreciate its position in Chinese culture, we must imagine a work with the critical cachet of James Joyce s Ulysses with the popular appeal of Margaret Mitchell s Gone With the Wind and twice as long as the two combined There is an excellent review here if you are interested it s listed in an alternate translation as Story of the Stone.
Inhalt Des Traums Der Roten Kammer Ist Die Geschichte Vom Glanz Und Vom Selbstverschuldeten Verfall Eines Edlen, Gro En Geschlechts, Das Schlie Lich Dank Der Sittlichen Und Geistigen Hochleistung Eines An Sich Entarteten Spr Lings Wieder Zu Aufstieg Gelangt Finisco un romanzo meraviglioso, Il sogno della camera rossa grazie, Ubu Trattasi di mattonazzo di oltre 1.
000 pagine, scritto intorno al 1760, che descrive minuziosamente la vita quotidiana di una grande famiglia nobiliare, nelle corti di Jung kuo e di Ning kuo Incredibile mix di Recherche, Buddenbrook, Edith Warthon, Tolstoi, Calder n de la Barca e naturalmente Beautiful, Il sogno della camera rossa ha un andamento narrativo tortuoso e modernissimo, contrapponendo gli estenuati ed estenuanti riti quotidiani lavarsi, scambiarsi visite, sedersi a mangiare, sorvegliare la servit , organizzare feste e cerimonie di una societ prigioniera di se stessa, al grande vuoto tao buddista, sola vera illuminazione contemplativa a fronte delle risibili pene umane Confuso e infelice fra questi due estremi, il giovane Pao yu rebel without a cause secoli prima di Jimmy Dean e, naturalmente del giovane Holden Grandezza e decadenza, am, intrighi, scenatacce e suicidi a volont , il tutto descritto con tale delicata raffinatezza che al confronto Proust sembra un Hell s Angel californiano Nota per eventuali aspiranti lettori doveroso avvisare che il libro ha tre grossi difetti, due non suoi Non cucito ma incollato Su un tomo di questo spessore vuol dire che una pagina su tre vi rimane in mano Da denuncia penale Numerosi capitoli, in particolare gli ultimi quaranta, per esigenze di brevit sono semplicemente riassunti Il traduttore era stanco L Editore pensa forse che abbiamo fretta Se mi annoio le pagine vorrei saltarle io, grazie Ora non per voler fare del marketing di fronte all Arte, ma differenziare un po di pi i nomi dei personaggi non avrebbe fatto un soldo di danno Voglio dire, si chiamano tutti Chia Chen, Chia Cheng, Chia Ch in, Chia Chu, Pao ch ai, Pao ch in, e cos via per 450 personaggi Poi non dite che non ve l avevo detto.
The copy I read was a downloadable Kindle version I could not figure out the translator The total location number was 36403 If I use a recommended page equivalent converter number of 16.
69, the page number comes to a little over 2100, which is close to the printed full version page number.
At first, I couldn t understand how this book became one of the four pinnacles of classical Chinese literature The other three are The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West, and Outlaws of the Marsh all may have various different titles depending on the translation It starts out like a rather dull, uneventful, linear diary spiced with an occasional mystical dream of the main prot g , Bayou, an early teenage boy growing into young adulthood during the story The details of his days and the days of a host of other main characters, mostly his relatives, are given in obsessive, almost painful details.
But dear Reader, don t be fooled by this slow start Perhaps the following statement will demonstrate how the book grew on me completing the first 20 % of the book took me time than the rest of the 80% The reason I hung on during these critical early pages was a fascinating look into a long gone culture a culture that until this day has been reflected in the life and mentality of nearly a third of the World s population East and South East Asia, to be exact If one has my kind of enthrallment with various cultures, the boring details throughout the book actually provide an exquisite opportunity to observe and learn In sharp contrast to the first part, around 50% into the reading the story accelerated and I had hard time putting down my Kindle From here on, the life events of a few dozen main characters and countless minor participants became compelling The story branched out into several exciting subplots only to be masterfully reunited in the final chapters.
The Jia is an old, noble family in the middle period of the Qing Dynasty China One of their greatest social achievements came when the Emperor chose their oldest daughter as a favorite concubine When the family learned that their daughter had gotten permission from the Court to visit her parents, for her welcome they built a magnificent garden with several living quarters The rest of the story took place mostly in this garden and the surrounding two mansions belonging to two branches of the Jias The main storyline focuses on the slow decline of this huge, influential family However, there is an equally important second storyline running parallel with the first one as an organic component of it Bayou s somewhat mystical spiritual awakening Most characters have multidimensional flesh and blood personalities without a hint of dogmatic profiling The good, bad, and the ambiguous features are distributed among them with good sense, letting their vivid individualities shine through.
Poetry is an important part of the characters lives The book presents a good number of poems written by a few gifted family members Although intellectually these poems gave me very little to hang on to, their moods nonetheless helped me understand the state of mind of those who wrote the poems and even the times they lived in Not unlike James Joyce s with his stream of consciousness, the author gives the reader free access to the most inner thoughts of several major characters, most notably to Bayou s This extra dimension of their personalities makes these characters even intimate and accessible to the reader.
One thing I especially enjoyed in the book was learning about the multiple elements of the Qing Dynasty China interwoven in the story the arranged marriages concubines the dowager cult incidentally this latter largely contributed to the fall of China during Emperor Dowager Cixi s regency the bizarre look at suicide as an accepted and in fact frequently expected solution to life s problems Chinese Medicine with its reliance on pulse evaluation the system of feudalistic servants whose status was not much different from slaves but who could become highly valued members of the families in the book represented by Xiren and Pinger the influence of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism on every day life the role of Chinese Opera in Chinese culture the importance of jade in Chinese spirituality etc.
One peculiarity that stood out for me in the book is the physical and psychological fragility of the Jia clan members Frequent crying, mental derangement, suicide, and consumption i.
e tuberculosis abounded in this wealthy family I could not find any historical information regarding the incidence of mental disease and tuberculosis in 18th century China but based on the story it surely seemed high Or, was this family struck by an unusual genetic burden due to intermarriage As an example, Bayou, who himself acted at times as a schizophrenic, other times as a depressed or autistic youngsters, married his first cousin.
In summary, this is a remarkable book for its documentation of an obscure historical time hardly accessible for most Westerners It has a rich character set, the theme is timeless, and the intriguing subplots make it a persuasive reading The book s length is due to exquisite details On one side, these seemingly unnecessary details don t help much with the modern concept of story development yet, I would submit that they have other literary values I can see that many potential readers will get discouraged to start or continue reading the book even after overcoming their reluctance due to the formidable page number To such potential readers I would recommend reading one of the abridged versions readily available in popular bookstores.
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Given the entire China is learning English as a second language, it s hardly necessary for people in the western countries to study the notoriously difficult Chinese language, for business or travel purposes However, if there is one reasonable cause to learn Chinese, it would be to appreciate this book in its original language, which could be the greatest privilege for anyone who speaks Chinese.
What about translations One might ask.
My answer would be Given the chance, I will probably get rid of every last copy of the translated A Dream of Red Mansions Because this legendary masterpiece, with its profound beauty and delicate language, is fundamentally untranslatable.
I hate this book, and I m Chinese.
Ok, hate is a strong word I m repulsed by this book which I viewed as close to godliness in my childhood I hate em little balls of prudishness.
Sorry about this, translator s , because I think you did a nice job on this book and I m still giving you two stars If I rated on your technicality alone I would give you a solid 3 or 4 I do like the English version in some ways better than the Chinese version s because it s so much normal for lack of a better word I felt that the prose style of the original was awkward and it somehow feels less distorted in the English version to a degree This is because Xueqin used vernacular Chinese in composing his proses Vernacular is straightforward, easily comprehensible, brash, raw, characteristic, and should remind me somewhat warmly of my Chinese neighbours.
But Xueqin changed it all He wrote in vernacular but all of his characters dialogues were so highly organized, so refined, so grammatically correct, it simply feels artificial as if he made several rough drafts of one conversation before inserting them into the characters mouths He eleganized the beautiful, spontaneous street talk of vernacular I hated that It s like somebody decided to Shakespearize Dickens English feels much normal for some reason, bringing forthwith unconscious magnitude in the dialogue Then again, English also concealed the brilliancy of the original proses and descriptions, so there are wins and losses.
Next, I have a problem with the central themes, which cannot be changed with translation Due to its uncertainty of themes, the book can be read as a surreal, poetic metaphor or a realistic piece of fiction But when you actually think about it, the plot boils down to this rich noble bastards party hard Party crashes Go home.
And it talks about this for roughly 80 chapters before we lose the original manuscript and read the flawed 40 chapters This unfinished ness added to the mysticism surrounding the book and is a major topic still in modern Redology Then this book is hailed as the height of Chinese literature.
Dot dot dot To be honest, the plot was good It still is good The ideas and philosophies are not It stereotypes men and women to a huge degree with its kind of reversal sexism appeal I especially had a problem with the author s ranking of women in the 5th chapter even if it is meant simply as a way of introducing dramatis personae, you can t ignore that Jing Huan Goddess proclaimed it herself that only the BEST women are recorded and the rest of the COMMON, VULGAR women are not Who the hell does she or the author think they are For some reason some see the book as a novel of feminism while it had minimum impact on the Chinese feminist movement For another, they see it as a hidden way of expressing political satire In this case take the book off the classics shelf now, why should we waste time on an author who doesn t even want to sit down and write a proper story Another proclaim the book is mainly emphasizing the Buddhism idea of Kong Huan in that everything, even the most beautiful, eventually amounts to nothing The author does a bad job of this if that is the case, because his sadness, his losses and his flames are quite trivial and does not match up to the greater kindness and understanding of Buddhism As I was reading it through in the future, I couldn t help but feel as if the author is writing these 80 chapters feeling narcissist ly sorry for himself There are a lot of unparalleled stories in the book, though, that outmatch the author s contemporaries Unfortunately not every story is of equal quality, especially when you see how narrow the book s world really is It s constraining to see these young people shut up in a false paradise wasting their lives away Worst of all the author seems to take enjoyment in it too alongside his forgotten sadness He beautified aspects of life that one would feel uncomfortable with for example it s okay for young girls to throw temper tantrums because she s young beautiful, but apparently it s not okay for old women to throw tantrums because they re inferior to younger virgin girls Whut He also did not really show the intensity of corruptive activities in the families.
Last of all comes the poetry The poetry is greatly emphasized in this novel, but upon reading it, it becomes clear that Qing dynasty poems were on the decline The poems in the novel are most elegantly and skillfully composed Yet they lack creativity, originality, and sophistication The poems are mainly concerning either of the emptiness of human life or mourning about the, again, most trivial things, such as flowers, plants, people etc The grandeur, mysticism of Tang, Spring and Autumn and Three Kingdoms era poets are sadly failing in the hands of Qing poets, and only begins to revive a little within chapter 78 in which Bao Yu composes a Song and a mournful Rhapsody, which were the loveliest to read Well, the author can t really make the poems great considering they come out of the hands of adolescents, and the poems are the best parts of the book, the main reason why I go back to read it today Overall, technically speaking, this book is not bad standing alone Yet it has achieved nearly national veneration in Chinese lit and I m not quite sure if it should be In terms of surreal and romantic aestheticism it does not match up to Genji Japanese, but earlier than this book by 700 years If Murasaki can do it why not Xueqin , in terms of realism and plotting wobbles before Plum of the Golden Vase, in terms of philosophy and mysticism, I think loses to Journey to the West, 100 Strange Stories, the Carnal Prayer Mat, and Tale of Scholars, at the top of my head The book s surpassing virtue is its delicate poetry, sense of dreaminess and scattered cryptic messages which no one will ever be able to sort Nevertheless one does admire his strength of weaving stories, and feels sorry that they could not read the completed work, but it is not the best.
, 18 , 18 30 400 300 Orbis Literae Gutenberg ,.