«Between Noble and Humble»

Cao Xueqin and the «Dream of the Red Chamber»- Edited by Ronald R. Gray and Mark S. Ferrara- Translated by Liangmei Bao and Kyongsook Park

by Mark S. Ferrara (Author) Ronald Gray (Author) TingTing Xu (Author)
©2010 Monographs 238 Pages
Series: Asian Thought and Culture, Volume 62


Between Noble and Humble: Cao Xueqin and the Dream of the Red Chamber (曹雪芹新传, literally New Biography of Cao Xueqin) is a translation of a scholarly work by the famous mainland Chinese critic Zhou Ruchang. Written for the Western reader, it historicizes the life and times of the Chinese novelist Cao Xueqin (c. 1715-1763) and comprehensively introduces the origins of the novel Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng). This translation is unique because it offers the first book-length biography of Cao Xueqin in English. Zhou carefully historicizes the decline of the once illustrious Cao clan, and he demonstrates how Cao Xueqin’s own childhood experiences in a wealthy bondservant family during the Qing dynasty profoundly informed the encyclopedic narrative that he would later write. In Between Noble and Humble, Zhou also offers intriguing and controversial theories about Honglou meng based on decades of careful research, for instance, that the famous commentator Red Inkstone was in fact a female relative of Cao Xueqin.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Dream of the Red Chamber The Story of the Stone Cao Xueqin Chinese Novels Zhou Ruchang Cao Xueqin - biography Cao, Xueqin Biographie Honglou meng, Dream of the Red Chamber, The Story Honglou meng 18th Century Chinese Literature
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XX, 238 pp.

Biographical notes

Mark S. Ferrara (Author) Ronald Gray (Author) TingTing Xu (Author)

The Author: Zhou Ruchang (Chou Ju-ch’ang) is one of China’s foremost experts on the Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng). Born in 1918 and educated at Yenching University, he has published over eighty-eight books, the majority of them dealing with the Dream of the Red Chamber. His first book, New Evidence on ‘Honglou meng’ (新), published in 1953, is considered a classic in Honglou meng studies. The Editors: Ronald R. Gray holds degrees in philosophy from Brown University and the University of Colorado at Denver and has published papers on philosophical and Western approaches to Honglou meng. He lived in East Asia for twenty years and has taught at universities in Japan, South Korea, and China. Mark S. Ferrara is Assistant Professor of English at the State University of New York, Oneonta. He is the former director of the Chinese Cultural Exchange Program at Drake University and has taught in South Korea, China, and on a Fulbright Scholarship in Turkey.


Title: «Between Noble and Humble»