Prof Pai Hsien-yong shares literary vision on Dream of Red Chamber at Lingnan
Prof Pai Hsien-yong, one of the most renowned writers in the Chinese speaking world today, gave an open lecture on “The World of Fiction in the Dream of Red Chamber” at Lingnan University on 23 April. Students and staff from Lingnan, joined by secondary school students from Tuen Mun and Yuen Long, as well as many other literature lovers, crowded the lecture hall for this event.
In his opening remarks, President Leonard K Cheng welcomed Prof Pai and highlighted Prof Pai’s close relationship with Lingnan: he was awarded Doctor of Literature honoris causa by Lingnan in 2003, and offered courses on literary writing to Lingnan students. Prof Joseph Lau, Emeritus Chair Professor of Chinese and a long-time friend of Prof Pai since their school years at National Taiwan University sixty years ago, gave introductory remarks on Prof Pai’s enormous contribution to modern Chinese literature and his lifelong passion for the Dream of Red Chamber.
Prof Pai then shared his experience with the classical novel as a modern writer. He called the Dream of Red Chamber “the greatest novel of all time”, as its value was demonstrated in the author Cao Xueqin’s unrivaled mastery of different literary genres, superior ability in incorporating traditional Chinese philosophies and myths, and ingenious skills in characterisation, symbolisation, structuring, etc. He advised that we read classics such as the Dream of Red Chamber slowly and closely, and appreciate them in the finest. The lecture was followed by Prof Pai’s interaction with the zealous audience in a question and answer session.
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