Next read along - Story of the Stone, Red Mansions

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Next read along - Story of the Stone, Red Mansions

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1jcbrunner
abr. 1, 2009, 8:28 am

As the kingdom will soon be reunited, it is time to think about the next book. I hope it doesn't break the scope of this group if I select the three volumes of the Story of the Stone or A Dream of Red Mansions as the next project -
from the battlefield to the private mansion, again with an exhaustive cast.

As I will be in London, UK, during the next days, I will look at both the Penguin and the FLP editions. Reading should start in May. Fellow readers welcome.

2belleyang
abr. 7, 2009, 11:11 pm

I'll read along in Chinese, but will also purchase an English translation. Please let me know what you get. Again, I read this with my mother's help 20 ytears ago. I love the ending, written by another's hand after the death of Cao Xuexin.

3jcbrunner
abr. 8, 2009, 9:06 am

Great, I bought the three volume hardcover 1978 edition translated by Gladys Yang (I hope to somehow get the correct bibliographic data into LT). The foreword features a strong condemnation of capitalism and feudalism, hammered in with no fewer than three Mao quotes in bold. 1978 feels like 1984.

I looked also at the 5 vol Penguins. On Amazon.com, there are voices that prefer the style of the Penguin translation. While I obviously can't judge the quality of the translation, I liked Yang better in the few sample paragraphs I compared. It also has watercolor, b/w illustrations and more notes than the Penguins.

I actually read chapter 1 and liked it very much. A modern style, very different from books published, say, in 18th century German or English.

4belleyang
Editat: abr. 9, 2009, 12:44 am

I think Gladys Yang may have taught at UC Santa Cruz when I was there. Not sure. I wonder if I should get the 5 vol. Penguin. I'll check them both out.

Later:

I just ordered the same 1978 edition. It's also published by the Foreign Language Press, so it should be fine.

I think the Moss Roberts' "Three Kingdoms" was pretty darn good. Did you notice he translated the poems in iambic? That's quite a feat, trying to give us a sense of poetry and accuracy of meaning.

Dream of the Red Mansion is so beautiful. Well, we've got 4 or 5 chapters left on the Three Kingdoms. Looking forward to reading the new book with you in May.

5jcbrunner
abr. 11, 2009, 9:43 am

I have to admit I didn't pay attention to the rhythm. The short English words lend itself to iambs, it tends to be a bit monotone though. With my "swine ears", as we say, I can't really appreciate the full quality of the poetry ...

I forgot to buy the DVD box of the 36 part 1987 TV series (Wikipedia). Hopefully, I can track it down here. Or should I wait for the new TV adaptation that is supposed to air this year?

6belleyang
abr. 12, 2009, 3:35 pm

Hmm. . . I think you should wait. I'd like to get the new ones for my parents. I didn't know about the old series, which could be quite stilted ala the beginning of the Three Kingdom series (which did get better as it progressed). The beginning was rather like the Players --the play with the play in Hamlet, where they pantomimed heavily.

7jcbrunner
abr. 14, 2009, 5:22 am

A bit of googling turned up that "it's scheduled to air during the next Spring Festival holidays" (Feb 14th 2010). In the meantime, I'll get the 1987 series DVD. Bad acting can't kill me - I've been exposed to much of the governator's oeuvre.

8LolaWalser
abr. 14, 2009, 12:17 pm

I recently bought the Foreign Langage Press edition (1995 reprint of the 1978 edition) and will be joining you for the read-along. I read the five-volume Penguin edition (The story of the Stone) years ago and loved every minute of it.

I also have a 1977 Hong Kong movie based on the book: The Dream of the Red Chamber. Bao-yu is played by a woman. Such trouser-roles seem to be fairly common in Chinese historical movies... of which I'm, by the way, a huge and unapologetic fan. (Wu-shu movies too, especially the old ones from the sixties and seventies...)

9belleyang
abr. 14, 2009, 9:24 pm

>7 jcbrunner: JC, that's actually a very good idea. I blanked out on the TV series my parents had watched. It's not bad at all. Darn good.

I received my volumes of "Dream" and it's a lovely edition. Reads well.

>Lola--Hi, so great you'll join us. Lola, you are amazing.

10jcbrunner
abr. 15, 2009, 5:28 pm

Excellent news. Great to have you on board, Lola. Would my watching the 1977 film be too spoilerish or serve as a good introduction to the novel?

11LolaWalser
abr. 16, 2009, 9:18 am

Hi, Belle, so nice to see you! I hope the book is coming along well!

jcbrunner--my own preference is always to read the book first; in a way, everything is "spoilerish" to me... and I dislike very much having actors' faces imprint on my mind before I imagined my own book-world. That said, if you're immune from this, it probably doesn't matter greatly in this case, because the book is much richer in incident and characters, and, while there are some twists and turns, none, I think, that could be spoiled in a "major" way...

12belleyang
abr. 16, 2009, 6:03 pm

>11 LolaWalser: You'll have to tell use if the Penguin reads better or the Foreign Languages Press. I love the stone, rejected by NuWa, and the Taoist and Buddhist who find him.

Lola, graphic novel comes out next year. Finished the body of the work, now editing with WW Norton. Thanks for asking. I've worked 14 years on this book.

13jcbrunner
abr. 26, 2009, 4:47 pm

Great news about your book - and a long gestation period.

I started some background reading about Qing China, about which I know next to nothing. Johnathan Spence is a wonderful historian. Having started his Search for Modern China, I was in for a shock with Death of Woman Wang - a brilliant book, but what a contrast. In Search, the plight of the common people is brushed over in a few sentences, while Woman Wang hits home: The 17th century, a century of dispair - hunger, earthquakes, war, bandits, invasions, ... even darker than Europe's calamitous century.

14belleyang
abr. 27, 2009, 12:27 am

>13 jcbrunner: I read "The Death of Woman Wang" in college and have since lost my copy. I need to reread since my head was in the clouds during my college daze.

15pechmerle
Editat: abr. 27, 2009, 5:09 am

You might find useful this more detailed study of the Qing 18th century:

Naquin and Rawski, Chinese Society in the Eighteenth Century

(Spence speaks highly of it.))

16jcbrunner
abr. 28, 2009, 11:06 am

Thanks, I wish I could absorb information faster than word for word, sentence for sentence. So many books ... Madame Wang is slim, Spence's Search is quite hefty (its pages fly though).