I-Hsien Wu's book is a notable recent contribution to the inexhaustible scholarly conversation about intertextuality in Hong lou meng 紅樓夢 (Dream of the Red Chamber). It is grounded in wide-ranging and critically astute reading of Ming-Qing fiction and drama and in a close reading of the many textual variants of Hong lou meng and its commentaries, especially Red Inkstone 脂硯齋 and Zhang Xinzhi 張新之. It is fruitfully engaged with other landmarks in the field, including Jing Wang's Story of Stone (1992) and Wai-yee Li's Enchantment and Disenchantment (1993), but perhaps most closely with Martin Huang's Desire and Fictional Narrative in Late Imperial China (2001). At the same time, it breaks new ground in many directions.

In her preface, Wu writes,

I would argue that the novel is about the relationship between ren 人 (human) and wen 文 (literature): while the mythic stone...

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