Cao Xueqin 曹雪芹
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Cao Xueqin, the 18th century (Qing dynasty) novelist, was the author of the first 80 chapters of The Dream of the Red Chamber (红楼梦, aka The Story of the Stone), possibly the most popular novel in the Chinese language. Cao was the scion of a once-influential family which came down in fortunes while he was a child; he spent most of his life in the western suburbs of Beijing, living in near-poverty, selling paintings for a living and working on The Dream of the Red Chamber.
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