Hung Lou Meng, Book II of II by Cao Xueqin, Literary Criticism
January 01, 2004
6.0 X 1.19 X 9.0 inches | 1.87 pounds
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About the Author
Cáo Xueqín (1715 or 1724 - 1763 or 1764) was a Chinese writer during the Qing dynasty. He is best known as the author of Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. His given name was Cáo Zhan and his courtesy name was Mèngruan. Cao achieved posthumous fame through his life's work. The novel, written in "blood and tears," as a commentator said, is a vivid recreation of an illustrious family at its height and its subsequent downfall. Friends and acquaintances recalled an intelligent, highly talented man who spent a decade working diligently on a work that must have been Dream of the Red Chamber. A small group of close family and friends appeared to have been transcribing his manuscript when Cao died quite suddenly in 1763-4, apparently out of grief owing to the death of a son. Extant handwritten copies of this work-some 80 chapters-had been in circulation in Beijing shortly after Cao's death and scribal copies soon became prized collectors' items. In 1791, Cheng Weiyuan and Gao E, who claimed to have access to Cao's working papers, edited and published a "complete" 120-chapter version. This was its first woodblock print edition. Reprinted a year later with more revisions, this 120-chapter edition is the novel's most printed version. Many modern scholars question the authorship of the last 40 chapters of the novel, whether it was actually completed by Cao Xueqin.