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The Age of Attribution: Or, How the "Honglou meng" Finally Acquired an Author

Haun Saussy
Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR)
Vol. 25 (Dec., 2003), pp. 119-132
DOI: 10.2307/3594284
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3594284
Page Count: 14
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The Age of Attribution: Or, How the "Honglou meng" Finally Acquired an Author
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Abstract

Hu Shi's "Honglou meng kaozheng" of 1922 first clearly identified Cao Xueqin as the work's author, as a factual basis for understanding the Honglou meng as the product of an individual writing at a definite time with specific intentions. Hu's historical pragmatism seems to break with earlier traditions of speculative reading. But the work's "age of anonymity" (roughly 1750-1922) saw the creation of many competing author-constructions, some of which anticipate current multi-author explanations of this complex and suggestive work.

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