The Story of the Stone (Dream of Red Chamber) readalong #storyofstonealong discussion

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message 1: by Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) (last edited Sep 03, 2018 10:46AM) (new)

Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) (meonicorn) | 44 comments Mod
Hi friends :) I've recevied some questions about the translations of The Story of the Stone on BookTube and here, so I did a little research about both English and Spanish translations and translators, hopefully these information can help you to decide which translations to get.

English translation:

There are two versions of translations that are most recognized and both are called masterpieces.

One is the Penguin edition, translated by David Hawkes (the first 80 chapters) and John Minford (the last 40 chapters). David Hawkes studied Chinese at both University of Oxford and Beijing University (then called Piking University). Besides The Story of the Stone, he also translated some other Chinese classics including The Songs of the South, a master poem collection written in classical Chinese. I've mentioned in my video that the first 80 chapters and the last 40 chapters were written by different authors, so I found it's very interesting that in this Penguin edition there're two translators for each part. And fun fact: John Minford is David Hawkes' son in law, who is also a sinologist.

The other highly praised translation was by Xianyi and Gladys Yang (杨宪益 and 戴乃迭), they are both Chinese scholars and they are a couple, together they translated a lot of classics into English and also translated western books into Chinese. Their translation was called A Dream of Red Mansions, which came before David Hawkes', and was divided into 3 volumes.

I have some conflicted information in my translation research: it is said that David Hawkes' edition was the first time the book was translated as a whole 120 chapters books. And in Yang's translation, all the records showed they also translated the whole 120 chapters, and there's no where to find if they just translated the first 80 chapters. But the Yangs' translation came before David Hawke's translation lol. But besides that, both translations were well recognized by scholars, so I believe they will be equally good for the readalong :)

There's also another popular translation called The Dream of the Red Chamber, translated by Chi-chen Wang (王际真). It was the earliest translation, so before the Yangs' and David Hawkes' translation, western countries used to read Chi-chen Wang's translation. But his work was not the complete of the book, and was much shorter than the original book.

Spanish translation:

The Spanish edition I found was called Sueño en el pabellón rojo, translated by Alicia Relinque Eleta, Zhao Zhenjiang and José Antonio García Sánchez. I don't know a lot about the other two translators, but Zhao Zhenjiang (赵振江) is a professor at Beijing University, and he was invited by Universidad de Granada to translate The Story of the Stone into Spanish, and their edition was published in 1989. So I guess maybe Alicia Relinque Eleta and José Antonio García Sánchez are professors from Universidad de Granada. I saw on Goodreads they also translated other Chinese classics.


message 2: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) hi Meonicorn, thanks for the research on the translations. If you want, I can check the Xianyi and Gladys Yang translation to see if it has the additional 40 chapters too. It's in my local library, so I can check it out early :)


Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) (meonicorn) | 44 comments Mod
Sanne wrote: "hi Meonicorn, thanks for the research on the translations. If you want, I can check the Xianyi and Gladys Yang translation to see if it has the additional 40 chapters too. It's in my local library,..."

Thank you so much, but it's okay, we can wait a bit and see when the readalong comes. I don't want to cause any trouble for you such as you need to renew it many times.

That's so nice of you :)


message 4: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) wrote: "Sanne wrote: "hi Meonicorn, thanks for the research on the translations. If you want, I can check the Xianyi and Gladys Yang translation to see if it has the additional 40 chapters too. It's in my ..."

I'm a librarian, so I can check it without having to loan it just yet ;) So it's really no trouble.


Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) (meonicorn) | 44 comments Mod
Sanne wrote: "Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) wrote: "Sanne wrote: "hi Meonicorn, thanks for the research on the translations. If you want, I can check the Xianyi and Gladys Yang translation to see if it has the ad..."

Oh that will be so nice XD Thank you so much ❤️❤️❤️


message 6: by Beatrizmallow (new)

Beatrizmallow This is very thougtful! I wish the Spanish translation was available in my library...


message 7: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) So I checked, and the Xianyi and Gladys Yang translation does have the complete book, including the last 40 chapters.


Meonicorn (The Bookish Land) (meonicorn) | 44 comments Mod
Sanne wrote: "So I checked, and the Xianyi and Gladys Yang translation does have the complete book, including the last 40 chapters."

Thank you so much Sanne XD So the information online was conflicted, good to know ❤️


message 9: by Kristina (new)

Kristina Cosy Novel Niche (cosynovelniche) | 4 comments I am reading The Story of the Stone in Italian and here it is called "Il sogno della camera rossa", literally "Dream of the red chamber". I am reading an old edition (1964) that is divided in volumes and Volume I has XLII chapters. The translator in this edition is Mrs. Edoarda Masi, who has written an introduction of almost 40 pages to the volume.

Edoarda Masi (1927-2011) was professor of modern and contemporary Chinese literature at the Oriental University Institute of Naples and of Italian language at the University Institute of Foreign Languages ​of Shanghai, she has been author and translator of several volumes on China and on Chinese literature.

Compared to the more modern translations this one has an old way of using the phonetic transcription of the names. For example, the name of the author is written "Ts'ao Hsueh-Ch'in" in my edition, while nowadays it is written as follows "Cao Xueqin"

Hope this can be helpful and keep in mind that this old edition has no family tree to help you understand who is who ^^''


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