The Dream of the Red Chamber or Hung Lou Meng by Cao Xueqin is one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels. Being considered a masterpiece of Chinese vernacular literature, it was composed in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. It is in general acknowledged as a pinnacle of Chinese fiction.
The Dream of the Red Chamber is believed to be semi-autobiographical. The author wrote the book to mirror the rise and decay of his own family and, by extension, of the Qing Dynasty. As detailed in the first chapter, the author’s intended to write this book as a memorial to the women he knew in his youth: friends, relatives and servants. The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy.

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