Rachel of the Hungry Hundred Book Club selected this mammoth Chinese classic for discussion at the end of January 2018. I bought the five-volume Penguin paperback edition and the 64-page illustrated version published by Real Reads. Below are the results of my research into the different available English translations.
See also: Buying books in Singapore
1. English Translation (Hawkes/Minford)
A complete English translation (120 chapters) called The Story of the Stone, translated by Hawkes and Minford, was published by Penguin in five volumes (copyright 1974–1986).
- The Story of the Stone Volume 1 of 5 at Amazon (paperback)
- The Story of the Stone Volume 1 of 5 at BookDepository (paperback)
- The Story of the Stone Volume 1 of 5 at Penguin (ebook links)
Penguin published a 96-page extract from this version in 1996.
2. English Translation (Yang/Yang)
A complete English translation (120 chapters) called A Dream of Red Mansions, translated by Gladys Yang and Yang Hsien-yi, was published by a Chinese publisher in a three-volume hardcover set, three paperbacks sold separately, or a four-volume paperback set (copyright 1978).
I strongly suspect the Hawkes/Minford translation is easier for English speakers to read and appreciate. (The Yang translation is characterized as being too literal.)
- A Dream of Red Mansions 3-volume set at Amazon (hardcover)
- A Dream of Red Mansions 4-volume set at Amazon (paperback)
- A Dream of Red Mansions 4-volume set at BookDepository (paperback)
- A Dream of Red Mansions Vol 1 of 3 at Amazon (paperback)
- A Dream of Red Mansions Vol 1 of 3 at BookDepository (paperback)
Some of the Yang/Yang translations say that the authors are “Tsao Hsueh-Chin and Kao Ngo”. Those are just different spellings of “Cao Xueqin and Gao E”.
3. Illustrated English Retelling (Sun/Chiang)
A British company called Real Reads published a 64-page illustrated retelling of the Chinese classic by Christine Sun, illustrated by Shirley Chiang (copyright 2013).
- Dream of the Red Chamber (Sun/Chiang) at Amazon
- Dream of the Red Chamber (Sun/Chiang) at BookDepository
4. Truncated English Translation (Joly)
There’s a 56-chapter partial translation by Henry Bencraft Joly. Since the text was first published in 1892, there are no copyright restrictions. The text is available in a variety of paperback and ebook formats, including a free download from Project Gutenberg.
- Hung Lou Meng (Joly) at Project Gutenberg
- The Dream of the Red Chamber (Joly) Kindle ebook at Amazon
- The Dream of the Red Chamber (Joly) Tuttle paperback at Amazon
- The Dream of the Red Chamber (Joly) Tuttle paperback at BookDepository
5. Abridged English Translation (Wang)
There’s a 60-chapter abridged version by Chi-Chen Wang available in one paperback volume (copyright 1958).