Between Noble and Humble: Cao Xueqin and the Dream of the Red Chamber

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Peter Lang, 2009 - Literary Criticism - 238 pages
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Between Noble and Humble: Cao Xueqin and the Dream of the Red Chamber (literally New Biography of Cao Xueqin) is a translation of a scholarly work by the famous mainland Chinese critic Zhou Ruchang. Written for the Western reader, it historicizes the life and times of the Chinese novelist Cao Xueqin (c.1715-1763) and comprehensively introduces the origins of the novel Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng). This translation is unique because it offers the first book-length biography of Cao Xueqin in English. Zhou carefully historicizes the decline of the once illustrious Cao clan, and he demonstrates how Cao Xueqin's own childhood experiences in a wealthy bondservant family during the Qing dynasty profoundly informed the encyclopedic narrative that he would later write. In Between Noble and Humble, Zhou also offers intriguing and controversial theories about Honglou meng based on decades of careful research, for instance, that the famous commentator Red Inkstone was in fact a female relative of Cao Xueqin.
  

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Contents

Chapter Two The Mixing of Manchu and Han Culture
9
Chapter Three The Close Connection between the Cao Family and
15
Chapter Four Outstanding Talents of the Early Qing Dynasty
24
Chapter Seven The Plot and Cruel Persecution
40
Chapter Eight Unusual Heredity
50
Chapter Nine Bondservants in the Imperial Household Department
56
Chapter Ten The Old Mansion at the Jinling Imperial Textile Factory
62
Chapter Eleven Great Disaster Looms
66
Chapter Twentyone House Arrest
136
Chapter Twentythree Wandering Aimlessly and Living Off Relatives
150
Chapter Twentyfive The Land of Poetry
166
Chapter Twentyseven West Mountain and Wormwood Weeds
188
Chapter Twentyeight An Old Dream of Qinhuai
194
Chapter Twentynine The Red Inkstone Commentary
200
Chapter Thirtyone A Proud and Aloof Person Like
208
Chapter Thirtythree The Death of a Literary Genius
221

Chapter Fourteen Cao Xueqins Most Influential Teachers
85
Chapter Sixteen Petals Fall as the Water Runs Red
101
Chapter Eighteen Splendidly Clothed but Lost Among Actors
117
Chapter Thirtyfour A Matter of Eternal Regret
228
Bibliography of Selected Writings by Zhou Ruchang
237
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About the author (2009)

Ruchang Zhou (Chou Ju-ch'ang) is one of China's foremost experts on the Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng). Born in 1918 and educated at Yenching University, he has published over eighty-eight books, the majority of them dealing with the Dream of the Red Chamber. His first book, New Evidence on 'Honglou meng' published in 1953, is considered a classic in Honglou meng studies.

Ronald R. Gray holds degrees in philosophy from Brown University and the University of Colorado at Denver and has published papers on philosophical and Western approaches to Honglou meng. He lived in East Asia for twenty years and has taught at universities in Japan, South Korea, and China.

Mark S. Ferrara is Assistant Professor of English at the State University of New York, Oneonta. He is the former director of the Chinese Cultural Exchange Program at Drake University and has taught in South Korea, China, and on a Fulbright Scholarship in Turkey.

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