[COMPLETE] The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao - ava

Solo or group recordings that are finished and fully available for listeners
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Post by Availle » January 1st, 2012, 12:44 pm

The Dream of the Red Chamber, Book I by Xueqin Cao (1717 - 1763) . Translated by Henry Bencraft Joly (1857 - 1898).

This project is now complete. All files can be found on the catalog page:

This is one of the books considered the "Four Great Chinese Novels".

The novel provides a detailed, episodic record of the two branches of the wealthy and aristocratic Jia clan — the Rongguo House and the Ningguo House — who reside in two large, adjacent family compounds in the capital Beijing. Their ancestors were made Dukes and given imperial titles, and as the novel begins the two houses are among the most illustrious families in the city. One of the clan’s offspring was made an Imperial Consort, and a lush landscaped garden was built to receive her visit. The novel describes the Jias’ wealth and influence in great naturalistic detail, and charts the Jias’ fall from the height of their prestige, following some thirty main characters and over four hundred minor ones. Eventually the Jia clan falls into disfavor with the Emperor, and their mansions are raided and confiscated.

In the novel's frame story, a sentient Stone, abandoned by the goddess Nüwa when she mended the heavens aeons ago, begs a Taoist priest and a Buddhist monk to bring it with them to see the world. The Stone, accompanied by a character named Divine Attendant-in-Waiting , was given a chance to learn from the human existence, and enters the mortal realm.

The main character of the novel is the carefree adolescent male heir of the family Jia Baoyu. He was born with a magical piece of "jade" in his mouth. In this life he has a special bond with his sickly cousin Lin Daiyu, who shares his love of music and poetry. Baoyu, however, is predestined to marry another cousin, Xue Baochai, whose grace and intelligence exemplifies an ideal woman, but with whom he lacks an emotional connection. The romantic rivalry and friendship among the three characters against the backdrop of the family's declining fortunes forms the main story in the novel. - Better summary to come.
  1. How to claim a part, and "how it all works" here
    To find a section to record, simply look at point 5. below at the sections. All the ones without names beside them are "up for grabs." Click "Post reply" at the top left of the screen and tell us which section you'd like to read (include the section number from the left-most column in the reader list, please). Read points 6. to 8. below for what to do before, during and after your recording.
  2. New to recording?
    Please read our Newbie Guide to Recording!
  3. Is there a deadline?
    We ask that you submit your recorded sections within 1-2 months of placing your claim (or by the target completion date, whatever is sooner). Please note that to be fair to the readers who have completed their sections in a timely way, if you haven't submitted your recording(s) after two months, your sections will automatically be re-opened for other readers to claim, unless you post in this thread to request an extension. Extensions will be granted at the discretion of the Book Coordinator. If you cannot do your section, for whatever reason, just let me know and it'll go back to the pool. There's no shame in this; we're all volunteers and things happen.
  4. Where do I find the text?
    Source text (please only read from this text!): http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/9603
  5. Please claim sections (the numbers in the first column below)!
    If this is your first recording, please let me know under which name or pseudonym you'd like to appear in the LibriVox catalogue. We can also link to a personal website/blog.

    Prospective Prooflisteners: Please read the Listeners Wanted FAQ before listening! Level of prooflistening requested: standard

    Please follow the pronunciation guide for the following Chinese names. If you have any questions, just ask!
    full pronunciation guide here

    The title: Hung Lou Meng 红楼梦 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/hongloumeng.mp3
    The author: Cao Xueqin (Tsao Hsüeh-ch'in)曹雪芹 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/caoxueqin.mp3

    Lin Tai-yü 林黛玉 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/lintaiyu.mp3
    Hsüeh Pao-ch'ai 薛宝钗 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/hsuehpaochai.mp3
    Chia Yuan Ch'un 贾元春 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiayuanchun.mp3
    Chia Ying Ch'un贾迎春 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiayingchun.mp3
    Chia T'an Ch'un贾探春 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiatanchun.mp3
    Chia Hsi Ch'un贾惜春 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiahsichun.mp3
    Li Wan李纨 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/liwan.mp3
    Miao Yü妙玉 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/miaoyu.mp3
    Shih Hsiang-yün史湘云 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/shihhsiangyun.mp3
    Wang Hsi-feng (aka Lady Feng) 王熙凤 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/wanghsifeng.mp3
    Ch'in K'o-ch'ing (aka Mrs. Ch'in) 秦可卿 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chinkoching.mp3
    (Madame) Hsing 邢 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/mmehsing.mp3
    (Madame) Wang王 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/mmewang.mp3
    (Mrs.) Yu 尤(氏) https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/mrsyu.mp3

    Tzu Chüan 紫鹃 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/tzuchuan.mp3
    Hsüeh Yen 雪雁 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/hsuehyen.mp3
    Hua Hsi Jen 花袭人 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/huahsijen.mp3
    Ch'ing Wen 晴雯 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chingwen.mp3
    She Yüeh 麝月 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/sheyueh.mp3
    P'ing Erh 平儿 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/pingerh.mp3
    Hsiao Hung 小红 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/hsiaohung.mp3
    Yüan Yang 鸳鸯 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/yuanyang.mp3
    Hsiang Ling 香菱 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/hsiangling.mp3
    Chin Ch'uan-erh 金钏儿 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chinchuanerh.mp3
    Ying Erh 莺儿 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/yingerh.mp3
    Hu Po 琥珀 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/hupo.mp3
    Ssu Chi 司棋 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/ssuchi.mp3
    Shih Shu 侍书 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/shihshu.mp3

    Chih Neng 智能 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chihneng.mp3
    Pan Erh 板儿 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/panerh.mp3
    (Prince of) Pei Ching 北静 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/peiching.mp3

    Gents of the four families:
    Lin Ju-hai 林如海 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/linjuhai.mp3
    Hsüeh P'an 薛蟠 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/hsuehpan.mp3
    Chia Pao-yü 贾宝玉 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiapaoyu.mp3
    Chia Lien 贾琏 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chialien.mp3
    Chia She 贾赦 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiashe.mp3
    Chia Cheng 贾政 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiacheng.mp3
    fourth tone: Imagine this conversation:
    What do you think we ought to do with the murderer?
    He ought to be hung -- a decisive statement, the pitch dropping on the hung, as if there's no question he will get the noose.

    Chia Chen 贾珍 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiachen.mp3
    first tone: level tone, rhymes with Jen (Jenny) in English. Hey, Jen, let's go for a ride.

    Chia Ching 贾敬 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiaching.mp3
    Chia Jung 贾蓉 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiajung.mp3
    Chia Huan 贾环 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiahuan.mp3
    Chia Jui 贾瑞 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiajui.mp3
    Chia Se 贾蔷 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiase.mp3
    Chia Yün 贾芸 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiayun.mp3
    Chia Chu 贾珠 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiachu.mp3

    Other gents:
    Chen Shih-yin 甄世隐 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chenshihyin.mp3
    Chia Yü-ts'un 贾雨村 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiayutsun.mp3
    Leng Tzu-hsing 冷子兴 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/lengtzuhsing.mp3
    Pu Shih-jen 卜世仁 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/pushihjen.mp3
    Ch'in Chung 秦钟 aka Ch'in Ching-ch'ing 秦鲸卿 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chinchung.mp3
    Chin Jung 金荣 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chinjung.mp3

    Chou Jui 周瑞 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/choujui.mp3
    Chiao Ta 焦大 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chiaota.mp3
    Li Kuei 李贵 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/likuei.mp3
    Lin Chih-hsiao 林之孝 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/linchihhsiao.mp3
    Ming Yen 茗烟 (later) Pei Ming 焙茗(bei ming) https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/mingyen.mp3

    Titles (used both for persons and places):
    Jung Kuo 荣国 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/jungkuo.mp3
    Ning Kuo 宁国 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/ningkuo.mp3

    Yang Chou 扬州 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/yangchou.mp3
    Chin Ling 金陵 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/chinling.mp3
    Ta Li 大理 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/tali.mp3
    Ch'ang An 长安 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/changan.mp3
    Ta Kuan (Garden) 大观 https://librivox.org/uploads/availle/drcnames/takuan.mp3

    Magic Window:

    BC Admin
    Keywords that describe the book:
    librivox; audiobook; China; Four Great Classical Novels;
  6. BEFORE recording:
    Please check the Recording Notes:

    Set your recording software to:

    Channels: 1 (Mono)
    Bit Rate: 128 kbps
    Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz
  7. DURING recording:
    Please leave no more than 0.5 to 1 second of silence at the beginning of your recording!

    Make sure you add this to the beginning and end of your recording:
    Start of recording (Intro)
    • "Section [a] of The Dream of the Red Chamber, Book 1. - This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit: librivox DOT org"
    • If you wish, say:
      "Recording by [your name]"
    • Say:
      " The Dream of the Red Chamber, Book 1 , by Cao Xuequin. Translated by Henry Bencraft Joly. Chapter [x] Part [y]"
    End of recording
    • At the end of the section, say:
      "End of Section [a]"
    • If you wish, say:
      "Recording by [your name], [city, your blog, podcast, web address]"
    • At the end of the book, say (in addition):
      "End of The Dream of the Red Chamber, Book 1 , by Cao Xuequin. Translated by Henry Bencraft Joly "
    Please leave 5 seconds silence at the end of your recording, or 10 seconds for files longer than 30 minutes!

    Also, please remember to check this thread frequently for updates!
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    Title: Please copy/paste from the Magic Window]
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Any questions?
Please post below or PM me. :)

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Post by Availle » January 2nd, 2012, 1:38 am

Okay, project is up... :D

This text is VERY HEAVY with Chinese names and words, so unless you speak Chinese (Mandarin), please wait with recording until the pronunciation guide is posted above. Huge thanks to Jing who will do this for us! :clap:

Still looking for a DPL - David? :mrgreen:
Cheers, Ava.
Resident witch of LibriVox. "I ain't Nice."


Posts: 171
Joined: October 20th, 2011, 5:00 pm

Post by jing » January 2nd, 2012, 8:20 am

wow, Ava, you are a real doer! :clap: :clap:
I'll try to get the pronunciation guide up by the end of the week.
The first 2 chapters have many names and places that show up rarely later, so let me claim these first (sections 1-5). Can't wait to start this project :D

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Post by Availle » January 2nd, 2012, 8:22 am

Great - all yours, thanks Jing!
Cheers, Ava.
Resident witch of LibriVox. "I ain't Nice."


Posts: 10
Joined: December 28th, 2011, 12:29 pm

Post by nowZen » January 2nd, 2012, 3:18 pm

That was fast. Good initiative!

I'd be happy to work on sections 6-10.

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Post by Availle » January 3rd, 2012, 12:08 am

Hi June, great to have you with us!

I have given the next five sections to you, but as you are a beginner, I'd like to warn you: Every section is about half an hour of FINISHED recording. It will take you about 2 hours for each. That's quite normal, so don't panic if it seems to be endless :wink:

Jing will post the pronunciation guide soon, so it would be nice if you could wait until it's up so that we have some consistency.

If you cannot wait to get your feet wet, there are lots of projects in "Dramatic Works" that are looking for actors. Those are usually quite short, so you can get a quick satisfaction of finishing :wink:

However, I hope you'll have fun here!
Cheers, Ava.
Resident witch of LibriVox. "I ain't Nice."


Posts: 10
Joined: December 28th, 2011, 12:29 pm

Post by nowZen » January 3rd, 2012, 11:11 am

Thanks, Ava.

I'll wait for the guide! I'm participating in another project, so no worries.
Not sure who June is (??) I'm Kevin.

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Post by Availle » January 3rd, 2012, 11:14 am

Oops... sorry for the name/sexchange... :oops:

* where's that facepalm smiley when you need one * :roll:
Cheers, Ava.
Resident witch of LibriVox. "I ain't Nice."


Posts: 1428
Joined: June 13th, 2009, 7:44 am
Location: Middlebury, Vermont USA

Post by clifford » January 3rd, 2012, 12:48 pm

May I take a crack at section 11? I think I can handle the pronunciations, although they will of course come through with an American accent. "Tian bu pa, di bu pa, zhi pa yangguizi shuo Zhongguo hua."

Nick Clifford

Posts: 171
Joined: October 20th, 2011, 5:00 pm

Post by jing » January 3rd, 2012, 1:08 pm

hahaha, Nick, you are game! :thumbs:

Posts: 171
Joined: October 20th, 2011, 5:00 pm

Post by jing » January 3rd, 2012, 5:29 pm

I've compiled a list for the pronunciation guide. The good news is that most places were translated into English, so that part turns out quite easy. To keep the list reasonably short, I selected about 60 names and 10 or so miscellaneous that appeared throughout the entire book.
For the rest, I can record some "stray" chapters where a lot of names show up and rarely reappear elsewhere. The relevant chapters in book I include 9, 13, 14, 24. (Ava: could you add me as the reader for these chapters? )
We'll still have lots of unimportant characters. Those should not affect understanding of the book, but if any reader would like to be super precise, I'm happy to add that to the pronunciation guide. I post the list I prepared below, please feel free to add additional ones by replying in this thread -- my mic got broken and I'm waiting for the new one to arrive, so I won't be recording it until at least Friday.
Also, Ava -- could we change the author's name in the recording introduction to "Cao Xueqin" (instead of Xueqin Cao), to be consistent with the way names are translated in the book?

Here's the list for the pronunciation guide I have now:

The title: Hung Lou Meng 红楼梦
The author: Cao Xueqin (Tsao Hsüeh-ch'in)曹雪芹


Lin Tai-yü 林黛玉
Hsüeh Pao-ch'ai 薛宝钗
Chia Yuan Ch'un 贾元春
Chia Ying Ch'un贾迎春
Chia T'an Ch'un贾探春
Chia Hsi Ch'un贾惜春
Li Wan李纨
Miao Yü妙玉
Shih Hsiang-yün史湘云
Wang Hsi-feng (aka Lady Feng) 王熙凤
Ch'in K'o-ch'ing (aka Mrs. Ch'in) 秦可卿

(Madame) Hsing 邢
(Madame) Wang王
(Mrs.) Yu 尤(氏)


Tzu Chüan紫鹃
Hsüeh Yen 雪雁
Hua Hsi Jen 花袭人
Ch'ing Wen 晴雯
She Yüeh 麝月
P'ing Erh 平儿
Hsiao Hung 小红
Yüan Yang鸳鸯
Hsiang Ling 香菱
Chin Ch'uan-erh金钏儿
Ying Erh莺儿

Hu Po琥珀
Ssu Chi司棋
Shih Shu侍书

Chih Neng 智能
Pan Erh板儿
(Prince of) Pei Ching 北静

Gents of the four families:
Lin Ju-hai 林如海
Hsüeh P'an薛蟠
Chia Pao-yü贾宝玉
Chia Lien贾琏
Chia She贾赦
Chia Cheng 贾政 (fourth tone)
Chia Chen 贾珍 (first tone)
Chia Ching贾敬
Chia Jung贾蓉
Chia Huan贾环
Chia Jui贾瑞
Chia Se 贾蔷
Chia Yün贾芸
Chia Chu 贾珠

Other gents:
Chen Shih-yin 甄世隐
Chia Yü-ts'un贾雨村
Leng Tzu-hsing 冷子兴
Pu Shih-jen 卜世仁
Ch'in Chung秦钟 aka Ch'in Ching-ch'ing 秦鲸卿
Chin Jung 金荣

Chou Jui周瑞
Chiao Ta焦大
Li Kuei 李贵
Lin Chih-hsiao林之孝
Ming Yen 茗烟 (later) Pei Ming 焙茗(bei ming)

Titles (used both for persons and places):

Jung Kuo 荣国
Ning Kuo 宁国


Yang Chou扬州
Chin Ling金陵
Ta Li 大理
Ch'ang An长安
Ta Kuan (Garden) 大观
Last edited by jing on January 6th, 2012, 3:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Posts: 1428
Joined: June 13th, 2009, 7:44 am
Location: Middlebury, Vermont USA

Post by clifford » January 3rd, 2012, 5:48 pm

That's a great piece of work. I hope we're not going to hold those of us who are foreigners to accurate tones! since many of us are incapable of such things.

Incidentally, that "tian bu pa" bit about fearsome foreigners speaking Chinese comes from Zhao Yuanren's Mandarin Primer, published way back in the late 1940s, and with which I tangled in first (or was it second?) year Chinese.

Nick Cifford

Posts: 171
Joined: October 20th, 2011, 5:00 pm

Post by jing » January 3rd, 2012, 6:01 pm

Don't worry Nick, I can't imagine any listener of this book would chastise a reader for the tones... :wink:
Ah, of course, Mandarin Primer! I forgot that! How do you like it by the way? My husband doesn't speak Chinese and we're always on the lookout for a good Chinese textbook....

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Joined: June 13th, 2009, 7:44 am
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Post by clifford » January 3rd, 2012, 6:57 pm

The Mandarin Primer had one drawback to popular adoption as a textbook, and that was Zhao's devotion to tonal spelling - (Guoyu romazi, or in GR, Gwoyeu Romatzyh. I found it, and still find it useful, but many others found it too difficult. It was used at Harvard and Princeton and probably some other places, including back then the Chinese School at Middlebury (my institution). The tones were built in, like this: mha (1st); ma (2nd), maa (3rd), mah (fourth). But most places in those days chose the Yale system which used accent marks to denote the tones, and today of course they use pinyin, with the accents.
Zhao Yuanren, in GR, comes out Jaw Yuanren (though, perhaps just to be confusing, Harvard,which published the book, put his name on the cover as Yuen Ren Chao) Shanghai comes out as Shanqhae (3rdtone4th tone) and Beijing as Beeijing, and Canton as Goangjiu.
I'm ashamed to say I don't know what they're using here at Middlebury in first year Chinese now, but I think they are texts from Princeton. I'm retired, and needless to say I never taught the language, never having had a real command of it.

I was also told that Zhao's primer was full of dated slang and expressions, and that if you mastered it, you would come out speaking fluent Beijing hua of the mid-1920s, just after the May Fourth Movement, Which was when Zhao was coming of age.

Best, Nick

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Joined: October 20th, 2011, 5:00 pm

Post by jing » January 3rd, 2012, 7:26 pm

Nick, thanks for the very informative reply! I didn't know any of these and it's really interesting. This tonal spelling system does seem to help a bit with the tones, although at cost of very awkward spelling. These tones in Chinese, just like "r" in Spanish and French, seem to be one of those insurmountable obstacles....

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