The Dream of the Red Chamber is one of the “Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature.” It is renowned for its huge scope, large cast of characters, and telling observations about the life and social structures of 18th century China. Many consider it to be the pinnacle of the classical Chinese novel. The “Red Chamber” is a term used to describe the sheltered area where the daughters of wealthy Chinese families lived.
The Dream of the Red Chamber is believed to be based on the author’s own life and intended as a memorial to the women that he knew in his youth. As Edwin Lowe writes in his introduction, “Henry Bencraft Joly’s attention to detail and the faithfulness in his translation of Hong Lou Meng makes this revised edition of The Dream of the Red Chamber an excellent book for the student of modern Chinese.” Whether you’re studying Chinese or simply interested in literature, this rich, multilayered story will offer you key insights into Chinese culture.