Description - Ideal and Actual in The Story of the Stone by Dore J. Levy
"The Story of the Stone" (also known as "The Dream of the Red Chamber"), completed in the mid-18th century by Cao Xuegin, is considered China's greatest novel - but its length and narrative complexity have proven daunting to many modern readers. Now, esteemed scholar of Asian literature Dore L. Levy introduces this timeless work to first-time readers, while also presenting a new method of comparative interpretation for advanced students and scholars. Drawing from literary theory, sociology, religion, and medicine, Levy explores how the classic novel confronts the chasm between social emotional, and spiritual ideals and their translation into day-to-day reality. This work unpacks "The Story of the Stone" based on the interpretation of four major themes: the inversion of traditional family dynamics, which constitutes the noel's social framework; the function of illness and medicine in a society where Buddhist notions of karma and retribution exist alongside pragmatic notions of the human body that make up traditional Chinese; the role of poetry in the social structure of dynastic Chinese society; and the use of poetry as a vehicle for spiritual liberation.
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Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
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Author Biography - Dore J. Levy
Dore J. Levy is associate professor of comparative literature and East Asian Studies and chair of East Asian Studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is the author of Chinese Narrative Poetry: The Late Han Through T'ang Dynasties.