The Dream of Red Mansion is one of the four celebrated Chinese classic novels (The Dream of Red Mansion, Journey to the West, Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Water Margin) which is a masterpiece of realism written in the middle of eighteenth century. The Dream of Red Mansion is also named Story of the Stone. A description of rise and fall of sediments represented by the four most prominent families (Jia, Shi, Wang and Xue) and reveals the complex contradictions of the feudal family, performance of the feudal marriage, morality, culture, education and decadent, degenerate and create a series of nobility civilians and the tragic image of a slave woman who has demonstrated an extremely broad typical feudal society living environment.
The story took Jia Baoyu, Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai’s love story as the master line. It reflects the twists and turns that society is bound to collapse, the declining trend of history. Rebel extolling aristocratic also works against the feudal ethics and love. The initial pursuit of individual freedom embodied the democratic idea, and reveals the profound and comprehensive Jia Lin.
Taking as its background, the decline of several related big families and drawing much from his own experiences, the author Cao Xueqin focused on the tragic love between Jia Baoyu and Lin Dai yu and, in the meantime, provides a panorama of the lives of people of various levels in the degenerating empire. 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 that they were able to entertain the Emperor Kangxi four times. But calamity overtook them and their property was confiscated. Cao Xueqin was living in poverty near Peking when he wrote his famous novel The Story of the Stone (also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber). But he left the work unfinished (or the last 40 chapters lost). Gao E (c. 1738 –c. 1815) completed the work some years later in much of Cao’s spirit and also put in his own revelation, which aroused protracted controversy throughout centuries. Exposing social evils, the book cries out denunciation against the feudal system. All techniques of literary merit developed in previous periods have been incorporated into the great work with much originality. It stands out in the world literature ranking with Hamlet and War and Peace.
The name of the main family is a homonym with another Chinese character, which means false, fake. Thus, it suggests that the novel‘s family is both a realistic reflection and a fictional or “dream” version of the writer’s family.
The Dream of Red Mansion has many aspects of knowledge such as medicine, philosophy, even foodstuff and so on. As an unmatched literary classic, its inception has been attracting a great number of literature experts many of whom have spent their whole life on researching the book.