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Cao  Xueqin 's 


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Book  1 

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Cao  Xueqin 

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The  Dream  of  the  Red  Chamber  is  considered  the  greatest  of  the  Four  Great 

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Classical  Novels  of  China.  Almost  40  main  characters  and  some  500  minor 

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characters  tell  the  fortunes  of  the  Chia  family;  the  book  details  mainly  the  life  of 

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Chia  Pao-yij,  the  heir  apparent,  who  is  described  as  very  intelligent,  but  also  as 

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carefree  and  self-indulging.  The  wealthy  Chia  family  rises  to  new  heights  when 

Pao-yu's  elder  sister  becomes  an  imperial  consort.  On  her  first  visit  home,  a lush 

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garden  is  built,  where  much  of  the  rest  of  the  story  takes  place.  The  intrigues 

surrounding  Pao-yu  and  his  cousins,  especially  Lin  Tai-yu  who  he  loves,  and  Hsueh 

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Pao-ch'ai  who  he  is  finally  tricked  into  marrying,  make  up  a large  part  of  the  story. 

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The  decline  of  the  Chia  family  begins  with  the  death  of  the  imperial  consort,  and 

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when  they  fall  into  disfavour  with  the  emperor,  their  mansions  and  the  garden  are 

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eventually  destroyed. 

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The  whole  book  has  120  chapters,  only  80  of  which  were  written  by  Cao  Xueqin 

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before  his  death  in  1764.  Henry  Bencraft  Joly  translated  part  of  the  book  written  by 

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Cao.  Book  1 contains  the  first  24  chapters. 

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Total  running  time  7 9:20:40 

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This  LibriVox  recording  is  in  the  public  domain  and  may  be  reproduced,  distributed  or  modified  without 

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permission.  The  LibriVox  objective  is  to  make  all  books  in  the  public  domain  available,  for  free,  in 

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audioformat  on  the  Internet.  For  more  information,  or  to  volunteer,  please  visit  librivox.org. 
Cover  designed  by  Availle.This  design  is  in  the  public  domain. 

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