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Penguin Classics #5 Story Of The Stone The Dreamer Wakes [Paperback]

Xueqin Cao , John Minford
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 1986 Story of the Stone (the Dream of the Red Chamber) (Book 5)
"The Story of the Stone" (c. 1760), also known as "The Dream of the Red Chamber", is one of the greatest novels of Chinese literature. The fifth part of Cao Xueqin's magnificent saga, "The Dreamer Awakes", was carefully edited and completed by Gao E some decades later. It continues the story of the changing fortunes of the Jia dynasty, focussing on Bao-yu, now married to Bao-chai, after the tragic death of his beloved Dai-yu. Against such worldly elements as death, financial ruin, marriage, decadence and corruption, his karmic journey unfolds. Like a sleepwalker through life, Bao-yu is finally awakened by a vision, which reveals to him that life itself is merely a dream, 'as moonlight mirrored in the water'.

Frequently Bought Together

Penguin Classics #5 Story Of The Stone The Dreamer Wakes + Penguin Classics #4 Story Of The Stone Debt Of Tears + Penguin Classics #2 Story Of The Stone Crab Flower Club
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About the Author

Cao Xueqin (?1715-63) was born into a family which for three generations held the office of Commissioner of Imperial Textiles in Nanking, a family so wealthy they were able to entertain the Emperor four times. However, calamity overtook them and their property was consfiscated. Cao Xueqin was living in poverty when he wrote his famous novel The Story of the Stone.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
We told in our previous volume how Xi-feng, finding Grandmother Jia and Aunt Xue somewhat cast down by the mention of Dai-yu's death, had endeavoured to raise their spirits with a humorous anecdote. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book was written one year before the French Revolution, in 1788, in Beijing, China by a riches-to -rags nobleman called Cao Xue Quin. It is viewed by many as the greatest classical Chinese romantic novel ever written.
I read the original Chinese version of this book when I was in high school, many years ago. At that time, my impression was that it was a Chinese Romeo and Juliet type tragic love story, in which the main characters Bao-yu and his cousin Dai-yu (Black Jade) suffered the fate of unfulfilled love, and no ever after. There was more to it than that, but I could not figure out what.
Recently, I re-read the book (the current trans- lated version). This time it sounded like the Adven- tures of Tom Jones, in which the teen-aged playboy Bao-yu was dallying in the ranks of the female members of his household (his cousins and maids), longing after many but only truly loving Dai-yu.
It was also a bit similar to Upstairs Downstairs -- a big noble clan with all its ladies, young misses and maids, and their lives of adventures and tears. But something was still missing. There was a theme, a message, which draws me and others to this great work of literature.
I finally figured it out: Almost all the WOMEN in this book were described as elegant, sophisticated, intelligent, graceful, excellent decision makers, and above all, beautiful. Most MEN, however, were described as fools, red-necks, unfaithful, heart-breakers, nogooders, users of prostitutes and abusers of power!
What I am looking at is a book (or one-MAN crusade) of Early Feminism. It is all the more remarkable because in feudal China, women did not have equal status. "marrying for love" seldom existed. It was more like "married by parental arrangement".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystical-Reality Sept. 20 2000
Format:Paperback
I've read all parts of The Story of the Stone. It starts and ends in a mystical fashion; coming full circle in a traditional ying/yang way. Wonderful five volume story about two wealthy families closely connected to the throne. Although there's not much known about the true author, I suspect that it was written by a maid. There is incredible detail from the perspective of the servents working for their sometimes nutty employers. The family actually built a garden at one point in honor of a visit from a daughter who had been chosen to be a royal concubine. If you want to immerse yourself in the ups and downs, daily life, (warts and all) of 1750's Chinese culture don't miss The Story of the Stone et al.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest novels ever written Jan. 18 2001
Format:Paperback
I read the other reviews on this page, and I thought I should add something: this novel is unbelievably beautifully written, and the english translation is absolutely superb.
You cannot find any better example of novel-writing skill in any language.
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The book gives us a complete picture of the feudal societ of China.It exposes the rot of the late Qing Dynasty of China.What makes people moved most is the tragic love story between Lin Daiyu and Jia Baoyu.Its exquisite style of writing and variegated description do great credit to its success.Some forfather has said that it was an encyclopaedia of the feudal society of China,and I do agree with it.I think that the most valuable point of this book,is that it denounces the cruel percecution which has been done to women by the feudalism--the feudal system,and it embodies the author's thoughts that women should be respecte and be equal to men.In that society,these are rare and valuable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest novels ever written Jan. 18 2001
By James Elkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read the other reviews on this page, and I thought I should add something: this novel is unbelievably beautifully written, and the English translation is absolutely superb.

You cannot find any better example of novel-writing skill in any language.
24 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Revolutionary Classical Chinese Romantic Work March 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was written one year before the French Revolution, in 1788, in Beijing, China by a riches-to -rags nobleman called Cao Xue Quin. It is viewed by many as the greatest classical Chinese romantic novel ever written.
I read the original Chinese version of this book when I was in high school, many years ago. At that time, my impression was that it was a Chinese Romeo and Juliet type tragic love story, in which the main characters Bao-yu and his cousin Dai-yu (Black Jade) suffered the fate of unfulfilled love, and no ever after. There was more to it than that, but I could not figure out what.
Recently, I re-read the book (the current trans- lated version). This time it sounded like the Adven- tures of Tom Jones, in which the teen-aged playboy Bao-yu was dallying in the ranks of the female members of his household (his cousins and maids), longing after many but only truly loving Dai-yu.
It was also a bit similar to Upstairs Downstairs -- a big noble clan with all its ladies, young misses and maids, and their lives of adventures and tears. But something was still missing. There was a theme, a message, which draws me and others to this great work of literature.
I finally figured it out: Almost all the WOMEN in this book were described as elegant, sophisticated, intelligent, graceful, excellent decision makers, and above all, beautiful. Most MEN, however, were described as fools, red-necks, unfaithful, heart-breakers, nogooders, users of prostitutes and abusers of power!
What I am looking at is a book (or one-MAN crusade) of Early Feminism. It is all the more remarkable because in feudal China, women did not have equal status. "marrying for love" seldom existed. It was more like "married by parental arrangement". Poor girls were sold as maids into rich households, or worse, they were sold as second wives or concubines.
The confirmation of my theory came from the author Cao himself. In his introductory book review, he said, "Thus begins this book ... I have hidden the real events and substituted them with fiction ... There were real persons in the inner-chambers, and their stories must be told ..." (Modern translation: I have real women in my household).
This message would make this a truly revolutionary work, not only in feudal China, but even to-day.
Should have first read the book review by the author.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think I can't use only "good" to describe such a good book Dec 4 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book gives us a complete picture of the feudal societ of China.It exposes the rot of the late Qing Dynasty of China.What makes people moved most is the tragic love story between Lin Daiyu and Jia Baoyu.Its exquisite style of writing and variegated description do great credit to its success.Some forfather has said that it was an encyclopaedia of the feudal society of China,and I do agree with it.I think that the most valuable point of this book,is that it denounces the cruel percecution which has been done to women by the feudalism--the feudal system,and it embodies the author's thoughts that women should be respecte and be equal to men.In that society,these are rare and valuable.
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazingly perfect capstone for this epic novel. Nov. 26 2013
By Paul T. Klammer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel definitely deserves its place in the topmost tier of global literature. I was not convinced of that until I reached this volume. Amazing that it came to such a complete and inevitable conclusion when it had to be finalized after the author's death by others.
5.0 out of 5 stars All five volumes worth the read! March 23 2013
By Greg Reeder - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read all 5 volumes of this translation of the 18th Century Chinese novel known as The Story of the Stone or The Dream of the Red Chamber. The stone in question is a small magic jade found in the mouth of the newborn Jia Baoyu. It is the story of the journey through life of that stone and the beautiful young man Bao-yu. Written 300+ years before Downton Abbey this is also a story of a family, the fabulous mansion and garden they live in and the complicated relationships they have with their many servants. Poetry, painting, landscape and architecture, flowers, herbal medicines, Taost priests and Buddhist monks, rape, murder, thievery, jealousy, corruption, death and beauty dance through the pages like nothing else I have ever read.
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