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The Dream of the Red Chamber: Hung Lou Meng

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4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  2,774 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
For 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. This is an abridged edition of the 18th century original.

满纸荒唐言,一把辛酸泪!都云作者痴,谁解其中味?小说以贾宝玉、林黛玉的爱情悲剧为主线,驾构出了贾、王、史、薛四 大家族的兴衰史。鲜活的人物、凄美的爱情,是一部读不完、说不尽的千古奇书。
Hardcover, 604 pages
Published July 8th 1975 by Praeger (first published 1791)
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Lysmerry Seconding Kyc's answer. I can't say how true to the Chinese text it is but I can't imagine a more fluid and lovely translation than the David Hawkes…moreSeconding Kyc's answer. I can't say how true to the Chinese text it is but I can't imagine a more fluid and lovely translation than the David Hawkes version. (less)
PaulESchilling When the author wrote it, he was already depressed and on his way down, so I'm not surprised he died before finishing the book. And I think it was a…moreWhen the author wrote it, he was already depressed and on his way down, so I'm not surprised he died before finishing the book. And I think it was a critique of Chinese culture generally rather than any particular dynasty. Even today Chinese people still relate to the book.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Steve Morrison
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 no ...more
Ketchup
Jul 08, 2014 Ketchup rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 more 'normal' for lack of a bette
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فهد الفهد
حلم الغرفة الحمراء

في السيرة الذاتية ليونغ تشانغ (بجعات برية)، تلتقي والدتها في شبابها بشاب وسيم ومن عائلة غنية، ولكنها ترفضه بسبب غبائه، تقول والدتها مستنكرة: إنه لم يقرأ (حلم الغرفة الحمراء) حتى!!

كتبت هذه الرواية الكلاسيكية، والتي صارت رمزاً لثقافة الشباب الصيني في القرن الثامن عشر، واعتبرت من أهم أربعة روايات كلاسيكية صينية، كما وصفت بأنها روميو وجولييت الصين.

ولكن للأسف وعلى نقيض الروائع الإنسانية الأخرى والتي يمكن لكل الشعوب قراءتها والتفاعل معها، تبدو (حلم الغرفة الحمراء) مغرقة في صينيتها
...more
Laszlo Hopp
Jun 16, 2013 Laszlo Hopp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Laszlo by: Nobody
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 t
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Bettie☯


Guardian article

Read the novel here Hattip to Wandaful

Opening: Chen Shih-yin, in a vision, apprehends perception and spirituality — Chia Yü-ts’un, in the (windy and dusty) world, cherishes fond thoughts of a beautiful maiden.

This is the opening section; this the first chapter. Subsequent to the visions of a dream which he had, on some previous occasion, experienced, the writer personally relates, he designedly concealed the true circumstances, and borrowed the attributes of perception and spirit
...more
Lysmerry
Jul 02, 2015 Lysmerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 more nu
...more
Sophielihui
Jun 02, 2010 Sophielihui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Heidi-Marie
I have spent 9 years trying to remember what "that Chinese book" was which I read within my first year of college. I cannot remember if I read it for extra credit in my Chinese class, or if one of my professors recommended it as a Chinese classic that I should consider reading. Part of me thinks I began it during the school year, and then part of it the following summer (when I was reading so much I can't remember all that I read). Either way, I finally did some research and this is definitely t ...more
zni
Jul 26, 2012 zni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The truth is that if not for my Asian Literatures class, I wouldn't have mustered enough strength (despite interest) to read this novel. And I am particularly drawn to the idea forwarded by some academics that Hong Lou Meng is actually a critique to the reception of the public to fiction (and perhaps to reading in general). Also, it is a counter to the idea that in order to attain enlightenment, one must transcend the everyday world. A monk makes a stone nod. The stone is cast away by the Goddes ...more
Enas
Feb 06, 2014 Enas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رواية ( حلم القصور الحمراء) تعد من أفضل الروايات الكلاسيكية الصينية ، كان مؤلفها هوالكاتب المشهور( تساو- شيويه - تشين) وهى رواية تعطي صورة دقيقة للمجتمع الصيني في تلك الفترة المحصورة بين الأعوام 1644- 1911، حيث الصراعات العنيفة الدامية بين أبناء الأسر الملكية للمطالبة بهذا العرش أو تلك المقاطعة ، الأمر الذي أنعكس بصورة أو بأخرى على عموم المجتمع.

كما تعكس العادات والتقاليد والأخلاق، خاصة احترام كبار السن في العائلة، والمعتقدات والتأثيرات الدينية،وأهمية التعليم والثقافة، وأسرار تلك الفترة، وكيف كان
...more
Mike
Feb 16, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just re-read this classic of Chinese literature as it's been years since I first read it. The Dream of the Red Chamber/Story of the Stone is unlike any work in the Western canon yet it fits into the Western tradition of great literature in a way few other examples of classic Chinese writing are able to, offering an engrossive narrative and a real feel for both character and place. There are aspects of this novel that may confuse the modern reader of it in English translation: the many titles a ...more
Kyc
Aug 07, 2015 Kyc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I own this book, which is part of my obsession with the 18th-century Chinese novel of manners Dream of the Red Chamber - in its original, surely one of the world's greatest novels? This abridged translation was by Chi-Chen Wang, a former professor of Columbia University. His translation is skilful and readable, although highly abridged - at 60 chapters, about one-quarter to one-fifth the length of the original. The Hawkes translation still remains my primary recommendation for anyone wishing to ...more
Bre Teshendorf
Jul 02, 2014 Bre Teshendorf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found a all four volumes of this book on the street, in Berlin Germany. I had never heard of it before, but the book described itself as THE most relevant piece of Chinese Literature that there is; naturally I had to keep it and eventually read it.

I didn't fall in love with this book until about half way through Volume II. I had a hard time following all of the characters, their relationships to each other, and the Chinese names, many of which were so similar (to me) that I would get easily c
...more
Kate
Mar 09, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, world-lit
Overall, this book--one of the four Chinese Classic Novels--was a marvelous read, although its intricacy cannot be overstated. Some compare it to Shakespeare, but it's more like a saga with little Shakespearean offshoots every few chapters. The cast of characters is enormous, and the overarching narrative truly does transcend space and time.

My primary complaint about this book--a long, complex, elegant Chinese drama--is that it needs a better guide to the characters. There is a genealogy chart i
...more
Grace
Feb 25, 2012 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actually, I should not say that I have read this book, while I have not really read the English version of this work. Nevertheless, I think that among the translated versions of this work, the page number of this version looks at least convincing enough.
About this work, there are enough positive reviews given from various perspectives already. One thing that I would like to note here is that it is not simply a love story like Romeo and Juliet. When paying attention to all details that the writer
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Laura
Free download available at ebooks@Adelaide.

The Chinese novel Honglou meng (红楼梦, also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber and as The Story of the Stone, 石頭記) is one of the great masterpieces of Chinese fiction.
As riveting as any soap opera, it can also be read as a study of 18th century Chinese manners, or as a Buddhist allegory. It is a large work. The first 80 chapters were written by Cao Xueqin 曹雪芹 and the remaining 40 chapters attributed to a Gao E who published the combined version in 1792
...more
Chaitra
I loved this book, so much like a daytime soap. The translation was great, it read easily. I felt it a bit rushed towards the end when everyone seemed to die in quick succession - the portion that wasn't written by Cao Xueqin. While every single person was realistically portrayed, Precious Virtue alone seemed to be more the personification of her name than a character. Because of this, I preferred Black Jade to her (anyone to her, actually).
Anne Freya
Mar 23, 2016 Anne Freya marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, classic
Kebetulan nemu di GR waktu lagi hunting yg klasik2. Hong Lou Meng ini adalah salah satu dari 4 besar sastra klasik Cina yg populer, menempati peringkat lima besar dalam buku populer yg wajib dibaca. Temanya serupa Romeo Juliet dan kemungkinan tragedi juga. Tapi tebalnya ituuuu, 2500 halaman lebihhh, timpuk org langsung mati orgnya, hahaha... mana yg udah baca pada bilang ini alur ceritanya slooooowww bgt, hahaha, khas klasik ya begitu ya semuanya.... Info lainnya : ditambah ratusan karakter, dan ...more
Shelley
Mar 16, 2013 Shelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Note: I read this book in Chinese. The following review only applies to the Chinese original, with some thoughts on the challenges a translator may face.

I read this book so many times that the spine fell off. In fact, said battered copy just lies around the house for me to to read a page or two from whenever I have a down moment. My mom does the same. She and her friends commonly reference the novel to describe people or situations. They are by no means exceptionally literary; just the average c
...more
Mel
So about ten years ago I read the English translation of this book by the Yangs. I loved it so much. Written in 1791 and spanning four volumes it was like nothing I'd ever read before. It focused on the lives of women, both elite women and their servants living in Qing China. I decided that I would like to read the original one day. My teacher told me that if I studied I might manage by the time I was 60. Well I managed when I was 41!

I have been reading this since January. I read the dual langua
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Maggie
Dec 29, 2012 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arguably THE most important work in traditional Chinese literature. Written in the 1780s and then compiled and edited about 100 years later, this is not a seamless novel, but more like a soap opera of a courtly family's life in decline. This edition is obviously not the entire work, but a good representation of the most famous scenes.

A lot of times you'll see scrolls or paintings with scenes from Dream of the Read Chamber (also known as Story of the Stone) that have 4 or 5 of the most famous sc
...more
Kathryn
I can only just begin to grasp the importance, the amazing contribution to Chinese (and world!) literature that this story brought about. Quite a challenging read--even with some schooling in Chinese culture, I found myself stumbling, reviewing and contacting my professor to make sure I caught all the nuances, that I understood all the honorific titles (the family tree chart in the intro is most helpful!) However, it was absolutely worth it as this is a stirring and gorgeous tour-de-force! Even ...more
Lee
Jan 11, 2015 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I first read this epic Chinese novel when I was about 13, and I remember being swept away into an entirely unknown and unimagined (by me) world. I knew it was wonderful: I didn't know it was one of the most enduring pieces of Chinese literature to date. Written in the late 1700s, it is still read and influencing writers. I reread it, and loved it again. I can see that not everyone would enjoy the cultural intricacies and minutely rendered settings. I could compare it to a twelve part Masterpiece ...more
Mistr3ssquickly
I borrowed a copy of this book from a dusty stack of forgotten books in the back closet of the English department in my high school, where it had been discarded by teachers who were tired of students mispronouncing Chinese names and becoming bored by cultural traits unfamiliar to them. For fun, I read it over the summer, and where I did struggle to keep track of which character was which, at first, by the halfway point, I was sucked in completely to the story.

It's a tale with no real beginning a
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Leonard
Like a historical record, the novel vividly portraits forgotten customs as well as enduring intrigues of a wealthy but declining aristocratic family in the Qing dynasty, detailing sumptuous delicacies, colorful cotton-padded jackets, and the luxurious chambers’ wooden stools, chamber pots, woven screens and bedside heaters. To turn the pages of Dream of the Red Chamber is to relive the decaying luxury of a lost time.

Dream of the Red Chamber
A Chinese Brush Painting of an Aristocratic Mansion
Joannie
Apr 23, 2008 Joannie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost always finish every novel I start, but I just couldn't get through this one. I do love classics, but I felt the translation nearly killed the original authenticity: the Chinese classical poetry is butchered and not nearly as poetic when translated. I sense there's a great story to be told, and I think I'll have to ask my mother to read it in Chinese to me so I can fully appreciate this classic work... until then, I remain somewhat unimpressed.
Blanca Sejin
Uffff aún no me puedo creer que lo haya acabado. Menos mal que solo tuvimos que leer los primeros 40 caps, pero vaya caps.
El considerado Quijote chino... Claro, están los dos llenos de relleno xD
No me ha desagradado mucho, pero es que apenas pasa nada, y está lleno de personajes difícilmente recordables. Sobreviví a él, en fin... No lo recomiendo xD
Robert Sheppard
WHAT EVERY EDUCATED CITIZEN OF THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW IN THE 21ST CENTURY: THE GREAT CLASSICAL NOVELS OF CHINA----"THE DREAM OF RED MANSIONS" BY CAO XUEQIN, "THE JOURNEY TO THE WEST" BY WU CHENGEN, "THE ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS" by LUO GUANZHONG, "THE WATER MARGIN or ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS" by SHI NAI'AN, "THE SCHOLARS" BY WU JINGZI, AND THE EROTIC CLASSIC "THE JIN PING MEI" OR "GOLDEN LOTUS"---FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM RECOMMENDED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES VIA GOODREADS—-ROBERT ...more
Julia
Mar 15, 2017 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's important to note that this is a severely abridged version of the Chinese original, which I didn't know when I got it. I gave it three stars because, since it's abridged, you can tell that you're missing a lot of the plot and character development. Also any version of this needs to have a very comprehensive family tree of the ningkuofu and yungkuofu including maids because without it I kept getting so lost.

All of that being said, it intrigued me enough to want to read the unabridged version
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Monty Milne
Jul 24, 2015 Monty Milne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The red mansions are the sprawling homes of an aristocratic family in 18th century China, linked by beautiful gardens where "bamboos dense as phoenix plumage make a rustling music..." Reading it is to be immersed in a very different world from the one I generally inhabit, and the strangeness is both attractive but also oddly disconcerting. Take this characteristic exchange between the most compelling character, Baoyou, and one of his many female crushes:

She: "If the river runs dry the pearl may
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  • Monkey: The Journey to the West
  • The True Story of Ah Q
  • Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio
  • The Plum in the Golden Vase or, Chin P'ing Mei: Vol. One: The Gathering
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  • Six Records of a Floating Life
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Cao Xueqin (Chinese: 曹雪芹; pinyin: Cáo Xuěqín; Wade–Giles: Ts'ao Hsueh-ch'in, 1715 or 1724 — 1763 or 1764) was a Qing Dynasty Chinese writer, 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 Cao Zhan (曹霑) and his courtesy name is Mengruan (夢阮; 梦阮; literally "Dream about Ruan" or "Dream of Ruan")[...]
More about Cao Xueqin...

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“诗云:一局输赢料不真,香销茶尽尚逡巡。欲知目下兴衰兆,须问旁观冷眼人。” 1 likes
“满纸荒唐言,一把辛酸泪。都云作者痴,谁解其中味。” 1 likes
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