About the Author
Cao Xueqin was haughty by nature, but an extremely talented literary man. His friend Dun Cheng compared his poems to those of the Tang Dynasty poet Li He, descbribing them as bold, solid and having the cold glitter of a knife blade. Unfortunately, all that survives of Cao's poetry is two lines of a poem dedicated to a play adapted by Dun Cheng from the famous Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi's long narrative poem Song of a Lute Player. Cao was also a painter who liked painting stones, in a style described by another friend, Dun Min, as sturdy. But Cao Xueqin's fame rests on his magnificent achievement in writing the full-length novel A Dream of Red Mansions.
About the Translators:
Yang Xianyi was born in Tianjin in 1915. His wife Gladys was born in England in 1919. They both graduated from Oxford University in the 1930s. They were married in 1940 in China.
After teaching at several universities, they went to work for the National Compilation and Translation Bureau in 1943, in charge of translation of literary works. In 1952, they joined the Foreign Languages Press (now the China International Publishing Group) in Beijing, where Yang Xianyi worked as the cheif editor of the magazine Chinese Literature. At the same time, he was a foreign literature research fellow of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, A council member of the Chinese Writers Association and a council member of the Chinses Translators Association.
For many decades, Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang have devoted themselves to translating and research into Chinses and foreign literary legacies. Their translations of classic Chinese works of literature especially have brought them global fame, making a great contribution the the cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world. Apart from their monumental translation of A Dream of Red Mansions, they have translated the Elegy of Chu, Selections from the Records of the Historian, The Dragon King Daughter, The Courtesan's Jewel-box, The Man Who Sold a Ghost, Palace of Eternal Youth, The Scholars and a number of works by the famous modern Chinese writer Lu Xun.