Journal Articles

Fall Winter 2005 - Vol.36/No.1-2
Jia Zheng: Self, Family, and Religion in Honglou meng
Author : Qiancheng Li
Keywords : Honglou meng,Jia Baoyu, Jia Zheng, self, family, religion
This paper is a study of Jia Zheng, a character in Honglou meng,who has not received the critical attention he deserves,arguing thathe plays a pivotal role in the different dimensions of the novel: theindividual self, family, and religion. His well-known clashes with son,Jia Baoyu, occur along these lines. While Jia Baoyu has retained hisspontaneous and individual self, Jia Zheng has managed to suppresshis for the sake of the family,hence the tensions within hispersonality and his complicatedness as a character. Jia Zheng isarguably the center of the family, sustaining it in various ways andshouldering the consequences of its collapse. He seems to be themost sensitive grown-up man,poignantly aware of an immanentdoom. His desperate attempts to educate his son can be betterunderstood if his side of the story is considered.Finally, the paperstudies the tension between Jia Baoyu's personal salvation and hisfamilial obligations,and Jia Xheng's response to this event,againcontextualizing the renunciation within the family's long history ofreligious pursuits.
Jia Baoyu in Honglou meng: Boyhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood in Pre-Modern China
Author : Mary Farquhar and Louise Edwards
Keywords : Honglou meng,childhood,adolescence,adulthood,pre-ModernChina, boyhood
Honglou meng is perhaps one of the earliest novels aboutadolescence. It is certainly one of the most detailed. And,as an iconic work in Chinese literary history, it transports the idea ofchildhood, adolescence,and adulthood to the centre of Chine se cultural life. Until recently, however,scholars and readers have notrecognized the main characters in Honglou meng as adolescents. Asin the pre-modern West, Cao Xueqin is vague about the litespandevelopmental psychology that underpins modern ideas ofchildhood. He does not describe Baoyu's life in terms of his a ge. Rather, he locates Baoyu's boyhood and adolescence in different social spaces with different dally rituals antexpeed The socialgrows towards adulthood, marriage, and fatherhood.The social spaces of elite Chinese boyhood and adolescence in Honglou mengare culturally specific. We argue in the final section that Baoyu'sadolescence is defined by the different social spaces he inhabitsThese spaces revolve around relationships,especially familyrelationships. They are highly regulated,with boundaries thatforestall and contain childhood explorations through regimes ofdiscipline,play,and education. The precise delineation of thearchitectural space in Honglou meng suggests that pre-mode rm Chinese views on childhood,adolescence,and adulthood a re spatially, rather than temporally, constructed.
Analyzing Gender:Wang Xi-Feng and the Shrew
Author : Erin L. Brightwell
Keywords : gender roles, shrew, desire
The Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber has been asubject of gender-role-based analysis on numerous occasions, andsuch studies reveal intriguing patterns. Discussions of fluctuatinggender’ roles and the implications thereof can be applied to theinteraction between three of the main characters --Jia Bao-yu,LinDai-yu,and Xue Bao-chai-and enhance the reader's appreciationof their shifting relationship dynamics. Yet one of the centralcharacters, Wang Xi-feng,seems to be perennially slighted;gender-based analyses often relegate her to the somewhatone-dimensional role of the shrew. This notwithstanding, WangXi-feng is such a highly developed character who is presented fromsuch a multiplicity of viewpoints that an analysis that reduces her toa stock figure does not seem to do her justice.' Rather thanincreasing the reader's understanding of Xi-feng'sactions,conceiving of her identity purely in terms of gender roles insteaddistracts from some of the larger questions that are relevant to adiscussion of her part in the novel.This essay proposes that a closerlook at Xi-feng's character will reveal that there is much more to herand her role in the novel than the gender-analyses-basedclassification of her as a shrew would first lead one to believe.
None The Red Chamber Message Hears: Art as Living Philosophy
Author : Zhou Ruchang
Keywords : qing, goodness, Confucianism, truth, beauty
In the first chapter of the 18th century Chinese novel,Hongloumeng the narrator laments that no one hears the special message ofthis work(蘸解其中味).! will argue that Honglou meng's coretheme (embodied in the work's main character,Jia Bao-yu) is that ofgong qing(公情, love and compassion to all).To Cao Xueqin, qingwas not just a belief,but a living concept and philosophyinextricably connected to context and the manner of using andgiving qing (called ti tie 贴). This paper also examines severallongstanding misconceptions about qing and the novel itself.
"Emptying Emptiness":Kongkong daoren in Honglou meng
Author :
Keywords : Kong (空), Dao(道), Qing(情), Chan(禪), hermeneutic
The conversion of Vanitas (Kongkong daoren) in chapter oneof Honglou meng, and his subsequent adoption of a new name,Brother Amor (Qing Seng), foreshadows the awakening of Bao-yu,Zhen Shiyin,and Liu Xiang-lian and raises important questionsconcerning the "secret message" in The Story of the Stone.A surveyof tenable religio-philosophical interpretations of the Kongkongdaoren episodes shows that the negative theology employed byChan Buddhism provides the best single hermeneutic throughwhich to discern this concealed message.
Completeness and Partiality in Traditional Commentaries on Honglou meng
Author : Andrew Plaks
Keywords : commentary, pianquan,Zhiyanzhai,Wang Guowei,Zhang Xinzhi,three teachings, enlightenment, sentiment, Great Learning, Doctrineof the Mean,gradual development (iian),scholar-beauty novels,four masterworks
The recently republished coilection of traditional commentarieson Honglou meng entitled Honglou meng piyu pianquan is asubjective selection of the most useful and compelling commentsappearing in late-Qing editions of the novel, based upon anexhaustive study of all of this type of critical materials extant today.These materials were long ignored in modern scholarship on theHonglou meng,but they have now come to be appreciated asinvaluable sources of insight. These commentaries include,inaddition to informative notes,personal readers’responses,andtextual analyses of narrative structure, a considerable group ofcomments that probe the intended meaning of the novel,inparticular with respect to such questions as the author's explorationof aestheticized sentimentality and the spiritual significance of thetheme of ultimate withdrawal from the world.
The Return of the Pingdian Pai
Author : Haun Saussy
Keywords : Honglou meng, hermeneutics, reader-response, commentary,editing.
D!rMl The typical reader of the Honglou meng in the eighteenth andnineteenth centuries was not much interested in the author--whosename was generally unknown.---but extremely alert to the stylistic.and thematic subtleties of the book. These readers have left tracesof their attention in the many "pingdian"(commented andunderlined) editions of the work that flourished before the 1920sbrought a new, more disciplined,mode of literary appreciation.Butnow those old commented editions have been reprinted and onceagain enjoy favor, a sign of change in the Chinese literary world.
Anatomy of The Stone: Dotting the “I” of the Lichee and the Monkey
Author : Kam-ming Wong
Keywords : anatomy 解, butterfly dream莊周夢蝶, coincidence, conundrum, Cook Ding庖丁, feminism, homonym, intertextuality,Liu Laolao劉姥姥, lyric fiction, NIwa 女媧, punning, reflexivity, zhengming正名
Early in The Story of the Stone Cao Xueqin issued a chaliengeto the reader: "Who can fathom its taste雄解其中味?”To meet thischallenge I have taken Zhuangzi as a guide and Cook Ding'sperformance as a paradigm in a close look at the anatomy of TheStone. ! have done so by focusing on episodes that Cao hashighlighted to arrest our attention with the graph解(jie) by itself orin conjunction with 分(fen),切 (qie), and 味(wei).Along the way lhave also detoured to explore the affinity between Cook Ding'sactivity and that of Njwa and Liu Laolao. Such a procedure hasspotlighted the high degree ofreflexivity the author hasincorporated into his text,revealed the source of Baoyu's feministinclination, shed light on Cao's innovative use of coincidence as agoverning principle of narration, and driven home the need to seeas "knottiest points"textual details as "minute as a mustard seed”where themes and motifs join. In my effort to "open up”解thesejoints and to pinpoint the links such significant details have to largercontexts inside and outside the novel, l have found it necessary tobe as attentive or attuned as possible to the paronomastic play thatthe homonymic tendencies of the Chinese language have madeavailable to the author.In doing so l have learned that failure by thecharacters in the story to attend to such play is what makes the"absurd words" and "tears" taste so deliciously bitter.
Returning to the Unpolished: Jia Bao-yu and Zhuang-zi in Honglou meng
Author : Ronald Gray
Keywords : Daoism,epistemology,unpolished stone, Zhuang-zi
ln chapter six of Honglou meng, the fairy Disenchantment(警幻仙姑) famously tells Bao-yu that he possesses “lust of the mind"(意淫). Yet through explicit allusions to the Zhuang-zi, Cao assertsthat Bao-yu suffers from another type of 'lust,' namely what theZhuang-zi caled "a lust for knowledge"(好知). l will show that thesecarefully placed Zhuang-zi references serve as a "supplementarytext”that offers an epistemological critique of Bao-yu's invariable,subject dominating and determining, finite point of view andoperates as a barometer of his philosophical development. Finallythese Daoist allusions contribute to the novel's consciouslydescriptive encyclopedic nature as well of it's sophisticated sense ofphilosophical completeness.
Embedded Texts: How to Read Poetry in The Story of the Stone
Author : Dore J.Levy
Keywords : tt embedded texts' lyric aesthetics, lyric transcendance,incidental descriptive verse, allusive verse, aphorism, cliche, Doggerel, vignette
The integration of poetry into prose fiction is a distincti ve feature of Chinese literature, but a challenge for anyone whoseliterary experience has been shaped, directly or indirectly, by thewestern novel.This essay examines the various uses of poetry in TheStory of the Stone, with a view to understanding how the author hasachieved his effects (and incidentally, affects).There are three majorcategories of integrated verse: incidental descriptive verse (whichgives voice to the point of view of the narrator),allusive ve rse (including aphorisms and cliches as well as literary quotations), andoriginal poems attributed to characters in the novel. Thesecategories represent different avenues for the creation andtransmission of meaning. Poetry in The Story of the Stone is meantto lead the reader into integration with the experience of the text,which,according to both Stone and author, is explicitly “real”--aworld which " . ..could at one and the same time serve as a sourceof harmless entertainment and as a warning to those who were inthe same predicament as myself but who were stil in need ofawakening." Analyzing the role of poetry in the novel helps to makeexplicit the paradoxical intimacy between Cao Xueqin's creationand the spiritual reality that ultimately supplants it.