Books > Language & Literature > Literature: texts > Drama texts, plays
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The young son of the head of the Chinese traders' association, the
men licensed to deal with foreign merchants in the port of
Guangzhou, is suddenly burdened with responsibility for his
powerful family upon his father's sudden death. A latter-day Baoyu,
but with far stronger sexual impulses, the son learns both to tame
his own libido to some degree and to conduct himself prudently in
the Guangzhou society of his time. All of this appears in a
comparatively little-known and little-studied novel called Shenlou
zhi, which is here translated for the first time. The novel was
actually first published in 1804, several decades before opium
became a factor in the China trade. It is not only by far the
earliest novel to deal with that trade, but also one of the
earliest accounts of it. Furthermore, it has been found to be
closely connected to events that occurred in Guangzhou and the
outbreak of rebellion in Huizhou. This strikingly original work
develops the culture of adolescence that was first described in
Honglou meng and also relishes, in its account of the rebellion,
the romantic conventions of Shuihu zhuan
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