红楼梦 (Hónglóumèng), ”The Dream of the Red Chamber”, is one of China’s Four Great Classics – a DickensProustGoetheDostoyevskysque novel that has been studied, retold, and reimagined countless times.
The story follows the downfall of a noble family in the 18th century, with the main plot revolving around an epic love triangle: The son of the family is in love with his cousin, but is forced to marry… his other cousin!
About 40 main characters and 400 minor characters thicken the plot (there are so many cousins!), and the story is indeed so rich with culture and history and subplots and psychological depth that it has sparked an entire field of study where literary fans – known as redologists – write analyses, host conferences, and talk all night about the layers of the book.
The legendary novel glows with family tragedies, fraudulent weddings, dirty money, sudden death, forbidden love – what’s not to love?
Scene from the 1987 series, often considered the best TV version. Baidu Baike