The Story of the Stone ’s journey to the West

The history of the English translations of Hongloumeng

Authored by: Fan Shengyu , John Minford

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Translation

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138938267
eBook ISBN: 9781315675725
Adobe ISBN:


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The Story of the Stone (Shitouji 石頭記), otherwise known as A Dream of Red Mansions or The Dream of the Red Chamber (Hongloumeng 紅樓夢), is by general consensus the greatest of all the classic Chinese novels. The author, Cao Xueqin (曹雪芹 c.1715–63), is regarded by many as the finest novelist in the history of Chinese literature. Hongloumeng was written mainly in the dialect of Peking, the basis for Mandarin and the language of officialdom throughout the late imperial period, and which became the foundation of the present-day standard language. Since its publication in the late eighteenth century, Hongloumeng has been translated into more than 20 languages. The history of its English translations reflects the different approaches adopted by various translators from the early nineteenth century onwards, showing the influence of the political, social and religious context on the process of translation.

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