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Rereading the Stone : Desire and the Making of Fiction in <i>Dream of the Red Chamber</i> - Anthony Yu

Rereading the Stone

Desire and the Making of Fiction in Dream of the Red Chamber

Paperback Published: 5th August 2001
ISBN: 9780691090139
Number Of Pages: 340

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The eighteenth-century "Hongloumeng," known in English as "Dream of the Red Chamber" or "The Story of the Stone," is generally considered to be the greatest of Chinese novels--one that masterfully blends realism and romance, psychological motivation and fate, daily life and mythical occurrences, as it narrates the decline of a powerful Chinese family. In this path-breaking study, Anthony Yu goes beyond the customary view of "Hongloumeng" as a vivid reflection of late imperial Chinese culture by examining the novel as a story about fictive representation. Through a maze of literary devices, the novel challenges the authority of history as well as referential biases in reading. At the heart of " Hongloumeng," Yu argues, is the narration of desire. Desire appears in this tale as the defining trait and problem of human beings and at the same time shapes the novel's literary invention and effect. According to Yu, this focalizing treatment of desire may well be "Hongloumeng"'s most distinctive accomplishment.

Through close readings of selected episodes, Yu analyzes principal motifs of the narrative, such as dream, mirror, literature, religious enlightenment, and rhetorical reflexivity in relation to fictive representation. He contextualizes his discussions with a comprehensive genealogy of "qing"--desire, disposition, sentiment, feeling--a concept of fundamental importance in historical Chinese culture, and shows how the text ingeniously exploits its multiple meanings. Spanning a wide range of comparative literary sources, Yu creates a new conceptual framework in which to reevaluate this masterpiece.

"Yu's book is one of the most important studies on Hongloumeng to appear in recent decades. It is full of insights and refreshing readings. It is a work of erudition and intellectual discernment, and it will undoubtedly become a classic in Honglou meng study. One of its many important contributions is its success in drawing our attention to the centrality of desire in premodern Chinese culture and its intimate relationship with Chinese literature."--Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

Abbreviationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Readingp. 3
Reading the First Readingsp. 3
Reading as Historyp. 20
Reading History, Reading Fictionp. 26
Desirep. 53
The Definition of "Qing"p. 56
The Dialectics of Nature and Dispositionp. 66
Ritual and the Rule of Desirep. 74
Pathocentrism and the Legitimation of Desirep. 82
Stonep. 110
The Stone of Fictionp. 110
The Gate of Emptinessp. 121
The Dream and the Mirrorp. 137
The Fiction of Stonep. 151
Literaturep. 172
Marriage, Learning, Examinationp. 172
Censorship and the Criticsp. 186
The Fiction of Desirep. 194
The Fate of Readingp. 210
Tragedyp. 219
Choosing the Protagonistp. 219
The Orphaned Contenderp. 226
The Thwarted Communionp. 234
Between Delusion and Hopep. 246
Conclusionp. 256
Glossaryp. 269
Bibliographyp. 277
Indexp. 313
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691090139
ISBN-10: 0691090130
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 340
Published: 5th August 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.81 x 15.44  x 2.16
Weight (kg): 0.51