Cao Xueqin (Ts'ao Hsueh-ch'in) ca. 1715-1763
Author of Honglou Meng, Cao is considered to be China's greatest novelist, but little is known of his life. An unconventional, versatile man, he came from an eminent and wealthy family which suffered a reversal of fortune in 1728 after the death of the Kangxi Emperor and a power struggle between his sons. Cao seems to have spent about ten years writing and revising his novel, from roughly 1740 to 1750, but the last 40 of the 120 chapters were completed by a different author, probably after his death. He also worked for a period of time in the Imperial Clan's school for the children of the nobility and bannermen, but eventually settled in the countryside west of Peking. He earned some money by selling his own paintings, but his family seems to have been perpetually in poverty. The novel, now generally recognised as a masterpiece, was not published until 1791, nearly 30 years after Cao's death.
Works available in English:
A Dream in Red Mansions: Saga of a Noble Chinese Family (Huang Xinqu).
Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching & Research Press, 1991; San Francisco:
Purple Bamboo, 1994.
A Dream of Red Mansions (Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang). Beijing: Foreign
Languages Press, 1978-1980; Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1986.
Dream of the Red Chamber (Wang Chichen). New York: Doubleday, 1929;
New York: Twayne, 1958; London: Vision, 1959; New York: Anchor Books,
Dream of the Red Chamber. Hong Kong: Seagull, 1980; Singapore: Graham
The Dream of the Red Chamber (Florence and Isabel McHugh). London:
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1958; New York: Pantheon Books, 1958; Taipei: Wen
Sing, 1963; New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1968.
The Dream of the Red Chamber (H. Bencraft Joly). Hong Kong: Kelly & Walsh,
1892-1893; Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995.
The Dream of the Red Chamber (Wang Yuping, Ming Beiping and Su Mingzhu).
Taipei: Hilit Pub. Co.; Beijing: Prospect Pub. House, 1990.
The Story of the Stone: A Chinese Novel in Five Volumes (David Hawkes and
John Minford). Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1973-1986; Bloomington:
Indiana University Press, 1979-1987.
Studies and Biographies:
Qiancheng Li, Fictions of enlightenment: Journey to the West, Tower of Myriad Mirrors, and
Dream of the Red Chamber. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2004.
Dore J. Levy, Ideal and actual in The Story of the Stone.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.
Anthony C. Yu, Rereading the stone: desire and the making of fiction in Dream of the Red Chamber.
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997.
Louise P. Edwards, Men and Women in Qing China: Gender in The Red Chamber Dream.
Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994.
Jing Wang, The Story of Stone: Intertextuality, Ancient Chinese Stone Lore and the Stone
Symbolism of the Dream of the Red Chamber, Water Margin, and the Journey to the West.
Durham: Duke University Press, 1992.
Cher-Leng Lee, Recovery and translation of zero anaphoric subjects in Chinese.
Ann Arbor, Mich: UMI, 1990.
Angelina Chun-chu Yee, Sympathy, counterpoise and symbolism: aspects of structure in
Dream of Red Chamber. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1988.
Joyce Chi-hui Liu, Theme of renunciation in Dream of the Red Chamber, Le rouge et le noir and
Jude the obscure: an East-West comparative study of literary themes and techniques.
Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1986.
Andrew Plaks, Archetype and allegory in the Hung-lou meng. Ann Arbor, Mich: UMI, 1985.
Hsin-cheng Chuang, Themes of Dream of the Red Chamber: a comparative interpretation.
Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1985.
Bing-cho Chan, The authorship of The dream of the Red Chamber: a computerized statistical
study of its vocabulary. Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1983.
Jeanne Knoerle, A Critical analysis of The dream of the Red Chamber in terms of western novelistic criteria.
Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1985.
Talbott Wistar Huey, Anti-orthodox styles and the charismatic tradition in China as revealed in three
popular novels. Cambridge, Mass.: Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1979?
Kam Ming Wong, The narrative art of red chamber dream (Hung-lou meng).
Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1979.
Andrew Plaks, Archetype and Allegory in the Dream of the Red Chamber.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.
Lucien Miller, Masks of Fiction in a Dream of the Red Chamber: Myth, Mimesis and Persona.
Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1975.
Shichang Wu, On the Red Chamber Dream: a critical study of two annotated manuscripts of the
xviiith century. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961.