Dream of the Red Chamber

Front Cover
Real Reads, 2013 - Juvenile Fiction - 64 pages
Baoyu has always believed that he will marry his childhood sweetheart, Daiyu. Daiyu is beautiful and talented, very sensitive, and physically fragile. It is a huge shock to him when he learns that his parents want him to marry Baochai instead, a healthy and considerate girl. Baoyu's family is fast losing its fame and fortune. One by one, Baoyu's female friends, relatives and servants are being married off or sold, and he realizes just how much he values the qualities of the women in his life. Will Baoyu surrender to life's harsh realities and give up his true love? What can he do to protect the women he loves from violence, neglect and abuse? Full of a fiery passion for love and beauty, Dream of the Red Chamber is the story of a young man in search of what is truly important to him.

Real Reads are accessible texts designed to support the literacy development of primary and lower secondary age children while introducing them to the riches of our international literary heritage. Each book is a retelling of a work of great literature from one of the world's greatest cultures, fitted into a 64-page book, making classic stories, dramas and histories available to intelligent young readers as a bridge to the full texts, to language students wanting access to other cultures, and to adult readers who are unlikely ever to read the original versions.

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About the author (2013)

Born into a wealthy clan of bondservants to the Manchu imperial family that for three generations had controlled China's textile monopoly in Nanking, Cao Xue Qin (also known as Ts'ao Chang) spent his childhood and adolescence in a large extended family surrounded by opulence. When Cao was 13, in 1728, the Yung-cheng emperor, suspicious of the Cao family's possible ties to rival claimants of the throne and dissatisfied with their performance in Nanking, confiscated the family property. The family was forced to move to Peking and spend the rest of their lives in greatly reduced circumstances. In his lonely middle years, Cao comforted himself by composing the brilliant long novel known as The Dream of the Red Chamber (1792) and also as The Story of the Stone. The work is both a nostalgic recreation of the golden world of his childhood, and a Buddhist and Taoist warning that worldly achievements and material possessions are vain and unenduring. The last 40 chapters of the 120-chapter novel were written or edited by a second author, Kao O [Gao E]. That Manchu nobleman more or less followed Cao's original intentions, probably worked from rough drafts of Cao's. However, there is some evidence that Cao originally intended the work to end even more starkly and tragically than it does. Political prudence, however, made it necessary for Kao O to tone down what might have been perceived as criticism of the family's harsh treatment by the emperor.

CHRISTINE SUN was born in Taiwan, and studied English and Chinese literature at The Ohio State and Monash Universities. She now lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she teaches Chinese Literature and runs eBook Dynasty, a leading publisher of Chinese ebooks, promoting the writings of both English and Chinese writers as Chinese ebooks.

SHIRLEY CHANG was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1974. In 1997 she graduated from Tunghai University with a BA in Fine Art, going on to obtain an MA in Illustration from the University of Central England in 2000. Her work has been selected in Student Design Year Book 2000, Image26/The Best of British contemporary illustration 2000, and Calendar 365.

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