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The Influence of Nietzsche in Wang Guowei’s essay “On the dream of the red chamber”
Philosophy East & West
  • Zongqi CAI, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
University of Hawai'i Press

Now more than ever it seems opportune to redress the long neglect of Wang's debt to Nietzsche. Recently a number of unsigned essays on Nietzsche and other Western philosophers have been discovered and positively identified as authored or translated by Wang. Particularly noteworthy among these essays are two, "Nietzsche's Views on Education" ("Nicai zhi jiaoyu guan" 尼采之教育觀) and "Nietzsche's Theories" ("Nicai shi zhi xueshuo" 尼采氏之學說). Both essays appeared in 1904 issues of The World of Education (Jiaoyu shijie 教育世界), a journal in which Wang published his other essays on Schopenhauer, Kant, and Nietzsche in the same year and the editorship of which he was deeply involved from its inception in 1901 to its closure in 1907. Making use of these newly discovered materials as well as Wang's established writings, I propose to reassess Wang's debt to Nietzsche's ideas in his essay "On the Dream of the Red Chamber" ("Honglong meng pinglun" 紅樓夢評論; hereafter "On the Dream"), the most original and influential of his writings on literature and aesthetics, produced in the early years of his scholarly career. In particular, I shall seek to demonstrate how Wang quietly and deftly appropriated Nietzschean ideas to establish a broad conceptual framework for questioning the philosophy of Schopenhauer, reevaluating the character of the protagonist Bao Yu, and determining the functions of tragedy.

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Cai, Z.-q. (2004). The Influence of Nietzsche in Wang Guowei’s essay “On the dream of the red chamber”. Philosophy East & West, 54(2), 171-193. Retrieved from