Session 12: Discussion of assigned Chinese premodern texts, first of three sessions • AMQ
Topics for this session
❖ Chinese premodern texts: Story of the Stone • Dream of the Red Chamber (Shitouji 石頭記 • Honglou Meng 紅樓夢) by the once-wealthy scholar Cao Xueqin (曹雪芹, 1715?–63), first of three sessions
❖ Writing circumstances and audience
❖ Basic premises of story
❖ caizi-jiaren storyline / collapse of Confucian values (weak patriarchs, corruption, Baoyu as Daoist, etc)
Story of the Stone has a large cast of characters. The stories of each of these characters are interspersed (that is, pieces of each of the stories appears in various chapters rather than isolated in specific chapters). Although we are going to read Volume 1 in full (26 chapters), in all cases place the emphasis on the romantic events related to this triad of individuals: Bao-yu, Dai-yu, Bao-chai and romantic events related to Xi-feng. In addition (if this is a regular term course, not summer), for our purposes, the story of Qin Shi / Qin Ke-qing is important.
This focus will help facilitate reading speed and bring your attention on what is relevant to this class. That being said, along the way there are some minor substories that are instructive to the author's view of romance and, if you are a strong reader, please pay attention to these as well (Aroma, Caltrop, Yuan-chun, Adamantina, "the Mattress" and so on).
The characters we track use various names, not just one. Here is a PDF that lists most of those basic names. It will be helpful to most of you for keeping track of who you are reading about. And, if you are reading in Chinese, it will help you convert to some of the unusual English names that we use: Characters to track in Story of the Stone, Volume 1.
Required—to be completed for today's session
✓ The reading of Stone should already have been completed in full by the first session of the sessions on premodern Chinese texts.
Texts, multimedia notes, links*
nothing yet ...
- Basic info, very basic storyline, basic biblio (Richard J. Smith, Rice University)
- Basic amorous groups in the early chapters of Story of the Stone
- Chart on Qin Shi
- on bSpace: Chapter summaries written by students, with comments on romantic content (.doc)
- More details: Links to summaries (some of these links may no longer work), and student-written characterizations of individual figures in the book and love relationships in the book— as .doc | as .pdf
- 2009 Chinese TV drama version
*THOUGHTS: Reading before class probably helps follow session content, reading afterwards might help consolidate notes, revisiting for tests is recommended. Content might be added before class or anytime up until about 24 hours ahead of a midterm.
*TEXTS, MULTIMEDIA NOTES, LINKS: If I have read from something, shown something or presented audio that is not elsewhere mentioned, I usually include that information here for the curious, sometime after the class (since I often make last-minute decisions about including something). It might take a while and sometimes I forget. You can email me.
*OTHER: When possible I note here names, places, and other details that I have mentioned in a lecture that would otherwise not be accessible in the assigned materials or easily located on your own. As with "TEXTS ..." this is usually sometime after class and, again, I might not be able to get around to doing it.