DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER – Classic Chinese novel, by Cao Xueqin

dream.1.1For more than a century and a half, Dream of the Red Chamber has been recognized in China as the greatest of its novels (a Chinese Romeo-and-Juliet love story and a portrait of one of the world’s great civilizations). Written in the mid-18th century, Dream of the Red Chamber was the last of the four great novels of Chinese literature to gain prominence. Cao Xueqin was a Chinese writer during the Qing dynasty. He is best known as the author of this novel, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. This novel re-creates the ritualized hurly-burly of Chinese family life that would otherwise be lost and infuses it with affirming Buddhist belief. The novel is markedly more nuanced and precise than its fellow classics, and it offers an detailed rendering of the life of 18th century Chinese aristocracy. The novel is thus a repository for those interested in Chinese culture, granting readers an insight into the religious and political world of upper class China. It also offers insight into a wide variety of aspects of Chinese culture, all of which continue to inform contemporary culture in China.



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