Dream of the Red Chamber

| 2016-10-20 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)


A grasp of mundane affairs is genuine knowledge; Understanding of worldly wisdom is true learning.
The proverb was translated by Yang Xianyi and his wife, Gladys Yang in their monumental translation A Dream of Red Mansions, indicating that in the world of earthly affairs, knowledge is everywhere.

Too much cunning in plotting and scheming is the cause of her own undoing.
These words were used to describe Wang Xifeng, one of the principal characters in the Dream of Red Chamber, showing that she received the opposite of what she wanted.

Only one who does not fear death by a thousand cuts would dare to unhorse the emperor.
This phrase is commonly used to describe a fearless person.

Truth becomes fiction when the fiction’s true; Real becomes not-real where the unreal’s real.
The couplet indicates the difficulties of separating truth and falsehood, reality and illusion, and the impossibility of making such distinctions in any world, fictional or actual. So in the Dream of Red Chamber, the name of the main family, Jia (贾), is a homophone with the character jia (假), meaning false or fictitious; this is mirrored by another family that has the surname Zhen (甄) , a homophone for the word zhen (真), meaning real. It has been suggested that the family written in the novel is both a realistic reflection and a fictional version of the author’s own family.