Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1929. 1st English Lang. ed. Cloth. Good+ / Good. Item #005244
1st edition, thus. A Good+ copy in Good to Very Good dust jacket. 8vo., xxvii, 371 pp. Bound in red cloth backed bamboo boards with red stamped figure of Chinese lady on the front board; in black, red and green pictorial dust jacket. The dj, priced at $3.00, is chipped along its edges, soiled, with a sunned spine; small loss at the tips and the spine's crown and tail. The front end paper has a small, nickel sized tear at the upper corner. Text block upper tip abraded to a small degree. A Good+ copy in Good+ dust jacket. *** Composed by Cao Xueqin, DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER is one of China's Four Great Classical Novels. It was written sometime in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. Long considered a masterpiece of Chinese literature, the 2500 page novel is generally acknowledged to be the pinnacle of Chinese fiction. This English abridged translation by Wang Chi-Chen, which emphasizes the central love story, was published in 1929, with a preface by Arthur Waley. Waley said that in the passages which recount dreams "we feel most clearly the symbolic or universal value" of the characters. "Pao Yu", Waley continued, stands for "imagination and poetry" and his father for "all those sordid powers of pedantry and restriction which hamper the artist...". Before this edition, only some of the chapters, couplets and poems were translated. In a 1930 review of Wang's translated version, Harry Clemons of The Virginia Quarterly Review wrote "This is a great novel," and along with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, it "ranks foremost" among the novels of classic Chinese literature. ***.