Dream of the red chamber has been analyzed and reanalyzed by thousands of Chinese commentators in the more than two centuries since it was written (e.g., Yu 1923; Hu 1940; Zhou 1953; He 1956; Liu 1956; Jiang 1959; Wu 1961; Wang 1983). Indeed, entire journals are devoted exclusively to the novel's analysis, and strictly original contributions to this vast literature are rare. However, Meng Zhang's comparison of the genealogical relations of the principal characters of the novel with Eugene Cooper's ethnographic data on twentieth-century Zhejiang, and the joint analysis of the results are informed by an anthropological consciousness uncommon to previous commentators. The analysis not only takes note of patterns of cousin marriage recognized by earlier commentators (e.g., Yu 1923; Zhou 1953; Wu 1961), but also discovers instances of several of the more obscure patterns noted by Cooper in his Zhejiang materials (Cooper, in press).

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.