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Say It Right Series

第一回: Chunk 21

Posted by derek August 10, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: 红楼梦

This next section is brilliant, but a bit difficult to understand unless you know the historical context of the novel and author. The part about the imperial court/government seems to be a statement concerning the structure/content of classical literature of the time, as 红楼梦 was different from the typical literature in that period. Much literature of that time are stories about imperial or noble persons of great virtue who performed selfless acts of heroism etc, and rarely describe ordinary people and their lives.


空空道人遂向石头说道: "石兄,你这一段故事,据你自己说有些趣味,故编写在此,意欲问世传奇.据我看来,第一件,无朝代年纪可考,第二件,并无大贤大忠理朝廷治风俗的善政, 其中只不过几个异样女子,或情或痴,或小才微善,亦无班姑,蔡女之德能.我纵抄去,恐世人不爱看呢."

The Daoist of the Great Void,  thereupon said to the stone: "Brother stone, your story according to what yourself have said, has some interest, and therefore has been written here, with the intention that it will become a published legend.According to me it seems, firstly, there is no dynasty or year that can be checked, secondly, there is no [mention] of good government by persons of great virtue and loyalty who managed the imperial court and social customs.

It only has a few unusual woman, some passionate and infatuated, some with small talents and virtues, also there is no orderly form, [only] the virtues and abilities of wild woman. Even if I go to copy [this story], I fear that the common people will not like to read it.

Breakdown:

空空道人遂向石头说道: -> The Daoist of the Great Void, (遂) thereupon said to the stone:

石兄,你这一段故事,据你自己说有些趣味 -> "Brother stone, your story according to what yourself have said, has some interest,

故编写在此,意欲问世传奇 -> and (故) therefore has been written here, with the (意欲) intention that it will become a (问世) published (传奇) legend.

据我看来,第一件,无朝代年纪可考 -> (据我看来) According to me it seems, firstly, there is no dynasty or year that can be checked

第二件,并无大贤大忠理朝廷治风俗的善政 -> secondly, there is no [mention] of good government by persons of (大贤大忠) great virtue and loyalty who (理) managed the (朝廷治风俗) imperial court and social customs.

其中只不过几个异样女子 -> It contains only a few (异样) unusual woman

或情或痴,或小才微善, 亦无班姑, 蔡女之德能. -> (或情或痴) some passionate and infatuated, (或小才微善) some with small talents and virtues, (亦无班姑) also there is no orderly form, [only] (蔡女之德能) the virtues and abilities of wild woman.

(This part is rather difficult, had to guess the meanings of 亦无班姑 and 蔡女之德能, so they are probably incorrect.)

我纵抄去,恐世人不爱看呢. -> (纵) Even if I go to (抄) copy [this story], I fear that the (世人) common people will not like to read it.

 

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