A Dream of Red Mansions (Volume 1-6, Bilingual Chinese-English) : Author: Yang Xianyi; Tsao Hsueh-chin (Cao Xueqin);Language: Chinese & EnglishFormat: 6 VolumesPage: 3575Publication Date: 01/2003ISBN: 7119032186Publisher: Foreign Languages PressDetailsA Dream of the Red Chamber, the great classical Chinese novel written in the mid-eighteenth century during the reign of Emperor Chien-lung of the Ching Dynasty, has been widely popular throughout the last two hundred years and more. The four great houses of China, Shih, Wang and Hsueh described in this novel were typical basic political units of feudal society. Such families were linked with the court above and the local officials below to form a network of control with the feudal autocratic state power as its centre. The book depicts the inevitable doom of these families, riven as they are by fierce struggles among themselves and in society, focusing on the tragic love between Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu and also provides a panorama of the lives of people of various levels in the degenerating empire. It is the only one novel so brilliantly integrated with these that readers are fascinated and moved by it. With superb artistry the author presents a panoramic genre-painting, a whole gallery of highly individual yet typical characters. Through detailed descriptions of their daily life he succeeds in depicting their different idiosyncrasies, thoughts and feelings. In the use of dialogue too he shows outstanding skill, putting such distinctive speech into each character's mouth that the reader feels as if he can see and hear the speaker.