Approaches to Teaching The Story of the Stone (Dream of the Red Chamber)
The Story of the Stone (or Dream of the Red Chamber), a Chinese novel by Cao Xueqin and continued by Gao E, tells of an amazing garden, of a young man’s choice between two beautiful women, of his journey toward enlightenment, and of the moral and financial decline of a powerful family. Published in 1792, it depicts virtually every facet of life in eighteenth-century China—and has influenced culture in China ever since.
Part 1 of this volume, “Materials,” provides information and resources that will help teachers and students begin and pursue their study of Stone. The essays that constitute part 2, “Approaches,” introduce major topics to be covered in the classroom: Chinese religion, medicine, history, traditions of poetry, material culture, sexual mores, servants, Stone in film and on television, and the formidable challenges of translation into English that were faced by David Hawkes and then by John Minford.