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From the 1990s, the novel has often been seen as an example of larger issues within Chinese literary and cultural history (see sections on Comparative Issues, Religion and Philosophy, Desire and Sexuality, Gender, and Literary Structure).
Few Chinese literary works have inspired a wider range of scholarly interest than Dream of the Red Chamber, and the dominating trends presented above have never ruled unchallenged.
The mid-18th-century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou meng 紅樓夢) has been the object of so much scholarly attention that its study is often considered a separate field within or even outside the general study of Chinese literature.
Since the 1870s, this field has been called hongxue 紅學, awkwardly translated as “redology.” The novel has two main Chinese titles, Hongloumeng 紅樓夢 and Shitouji 石頭記, reflected in its two major English translations: A Dream of Red Mansions and The Story of the Stone (see section on Translations).
In the Mao period, a revolutionary class-struggle analysis dominated in mainland China.
In the 1970s, outside mainland China, both Chinese and English-language studies formed the basis for trends focusing on the novel’s literary achievements, mostly based on current literary theory.
Most scholarly studies of the novel are written in Chinese.
Since the 1970s, there have also been many studies in English and other Western languages.
For all its realism however, The Story of the Stone is not set entirely inreality.
The very premise of the whole tale, that of a single rock left outof the goddess Nu-wa's repairing of the sky, is one based on amagico-religious dream world.