Chapter 298: The 'Dream of the Red Chamber' that No One Dares to Teach!
Class had ended.
Zhang Ye was just about to leave with President Wu, as well as the department Dean. However, the moment he got off his podium, he was surrounded by students!
"Can I get an autograph!?"
"Please take a picture with me! I'm your fan!"
"Teacher Zhang Ye, I have a question about literature that I need to consult you about. Do you have time after class? Can I treat you to lunch?"
"I also want to consult you!"
"I also have a huge question about literature!"
More than half of the students left as many of them had other classes. The remaining students were all very passionate. There were both male and female, but mostly women, who were surrounding Zhang Ye, asked him all sorts of questions. Zhang Ye did not reject them. Although he said stuff like never again, he still gave his students their requested autographs. He did not agree to the pictures with them, since this was a college campus. President Wu and company still had not left, so it was not appropriate to take photos.
Wu Zeqing took a step out the auditorium in her heels and gave a gentle smile, "Let us leave first. There's no need to wait for Little Zhang."
Chang Kaige gave a few glances back before helplessly shaking his head, "To think they even want autographs. These students are really pushing it, and that Teacher Little Zhang, hai."
Professor Zeng laughed, "This shows how popular Teacher Zhang is, for him to mingle well with his students."
Chang Kaige gave a wry smile. Only when President Wu was far away did he glance at Professor Zeng and said, "Old Zheng, why do I have a premonition chaos will happen?"
Professor Zeng said, "Letting Zhang Ye teach is also an experimental attempt of the school."
Another department's teacher said, "It's already in chaos. Just his first meeting with his students and not even an actual class, Teacher Little Zhang has already questioned the academic world's choice of textbooks? Who knows what earth-shattering words he will say tomorrow when he officially begins teaching. I'm also worried. With Zhang Ye here, it would be difficult for our Peking University Chinese department to be peaceful. Everyone in this industry knows how daring that mouth of his is!"
They walked away while discussing.
After attending to the passionate students, Zhang Ye found an excuse to leave, but before walking far from the auditorium, he found someone tailing him. Oh? Wasn't this the girl who asked the first question? He had seen her earlier at the food stall in the morning.
As he came to a halt, Zhang Ye smiled, "Is there something wrong?"
Yao Mi came forward with a cheerful smile, "Uncle Zhang."
Zhang Ye nearly fainted and said, "Why did I become an Uncle? If you want to call me, you can call me Brother Zhang. I'm not that much older than all of you, so I'm not that old."
Yao Mi chuckled, "But our generational hierarchy exists. You and my Dad call each other brother, so I can't just blindly call you Brother. I definitely have to call you Uncle."
Zhang Ye happened to find this girl who had very distinct characteristics, but not considered pretty very familiar, "Your father is...?"
Yao Mi casually said, "My Dad is Yao Jiancai."
"Heyo!" It suddenly dawned on Zhang Ye, "No wonder your eyes reminded me of an old friend! So you are Old Yao's child. He had previously mentioned you to me, but never said you were in Peking University. Nice, Old Yao sure concealed it well. I didn't expect him to have such a clever daughter. What's your name?"
Yao Mi said, "I'm Yao Mi."
Zhang Ye said, "What year are you in?"
Yao Mi said, "I'm going into my second year this year."
Zhang Ye said, "Not bad. Find me if there's anything you need."
Yao Mi said, "Hehe, then my credits will be depending on Uncle Zhang."
Zhang Ye chuckled, "I am new here. I don't know how the exams work yet, and it's not my call to make. However, if you listen to my classes well, I can guarantee you will receive the credit you deserve."
"That's all that matters." Yao Mi said.
As they conversed, Zhang Ye suddenly thought of something important, "Oh, just nice. I wanted to chat with our class' students. What did Professor Wang teach in 'Appreciation of the Classics' last time?"
Yao Mi recalled seriously, "It's just some famous works, such as Three Kingdoms, or Water Margin, or Journey to the West, and some other famous classics. Most of them are Chinese. The appreciation of foreign classics is another class and taught by other teachers, but then, that was what Professor Wang lectured in the past few years. This year, Professor Wang only held two classes and talked a bit about the Three Kingdoms and Water Margin, and that was it."
Zhang Ye got some understanding of the situation, "Then what do wish to hear?"
Yao Mi chuckled, "Isn't your forte the Three Kingdoms?"
"Other than Three Kingdoms? You don't have to care if it's my forte. Just tell me what the mainstream opinion of what you guys and the other classmates want to hear? Which famous classic are you interested in?" Zhang Ye asked.
"About that..." Yao Mi licked her lips, "The most interested classic would definitely be 'Dream of the Red Chamber'."
Zhang Ye was surprised, "Oh? Everyone has similar views on this?"
Yao Mi said, "At least for me. I really like 'Dream of the Red Chamber' too much. The romance in it is too beautiful. Besides, not many people lecture on 'Dream of the Red Chamber'. Even Professor Wang has never taught it. I heard from a few seniors who had taken this class that over the many years of teaching 'Appreciation of the Classics', Professor Wang has at best, only mentioned the accomplishments of 'Dream of the Red Chamber'. However, there was no detailed lecture about it. When someone asked a crucial problem about 'Dream of the Red Chamber', Professor Wang would also shrug it off, like he did not wish to talk about this classic."
Zhang Ye blinked, "Is that so. Alright, I got it."
"Are you really going to lecture on 'Dream of the Red Chamber'? That would be great!" Yao Mi was looking forward to it.
Zhang Ye smiled, "Not necessarily. I need to go back and think, and also prepare for it. Alright, go prepare for your other class. I'll be leaving."
Yao Mi waved her hand, "Go busy yourself. Bye, Uncle Zhang."
Chinese department in the school campus.
Zhang Ye was preparing to return home. Tomorrow was the first day of classes, but he had not decided on what to teach yet, so he naturally had to go home to prepare.
In a small garden.
A middle-aged man was smoking and called out to him when he noticed Zhang Ye, "Teacher Little Zhang"
Zhang Ye looked curiously over. He found him familiar, and he looked like one of the teachers who had sat in his class in the first row with President Wu. "Hey, how do you do?"
"Do you want a stick?" Professor Zeng handed him a cigarette.
Zhang Ye took it and lit it up himself, "I just got hired here, so...Who are you?"
Professor Zeng chuckled, "My surname is Zheng. I teach History, so you can just call me Old Zheng."
Zhang Ye smiled, "I wouldn't dare call Old Zheng. How do you do, Professor Zeng? You came here to smoke because you don't have classes?"
"No, I was waiting for you." Professor Zeng smiled, "We have interacted before on Weibo. Have you forgotten?"
Zhang Ye was momentarily stunned before he smacked himself in the forehead, "I recall. Heh! So it was you! Back then, when my 'Analysis of the Three Kingdoms' was doubted by many, I have to thank you for your support." To those people who had helped him before, Zhang Ye naturally had a great impression of them. This person was the Peking University history professor who had a Weibo verified account. He had personally posted on Weibo to support Zhang Ye. He had validated that "Zhang Ye's Analysis of the Three Kingdoms" was factual. Due to Professor Zeng's authority, many people were alleviated of their doubts. Zhang Ye had always wanted to thank him.
Professor Zeng took in another mouthful of smoke and said, "Back then, I mentioned that your historical standard was more than enough to come teach in a university. Indeed, I was not the only one with such thoughts. President Wu also thinks highly of you."
Zhang Ye said, "This is all thanks to all of you."
Professor Zeng asked curiously, "I heard President Wu only found you a day or two ago. You will have to start teaching tomorrow, and have to lecture for ten consecutive days. Are you ready?"
Zhang Ye leaned on a flower railing, "I have some general ideas. I was planning on going home to prepare. I might even need to run to the library. Time is quite tight."
"What will you be teaching?" Professor Zeng asked.
Zhang Ye said, "It will provisionally be 'Dream of the Red Chamber'."
Upon hearing this, Professor Zeng was stunned, "You want to teach 'Dream of the Red Chamber'?"
Zhang Ye asked in wonder, "I suppose so. The students seem rearing to hear about it. Besides, Professor Wang has never taught this in the past. So with me taking over Professor Wang's class, I plan on teaching something new."
Professor Zeng laughed, "You sure are bold."
Zhang Ye was confused, "What do you mean bold? 'Dream of the Red Chamber' cannot be taught?"
It's not a banned book now, right!? 'Dream of the Red Chamber' cannot be taught? This isn't f**king 'Golden Lotus'!
Professor Zeng snubbed his cigarette and threw it into a trashcan and said, "Do you really not know, or are you just playing the fool, Teacher Little Zhang? It's not that 'Dream of the Red Chamber' cannot be taught, it's just few dare to teach it as it's too difficult. Do you think only Professor Wang did not teach it? Watch those shows on TV, how many experts dare to talk about 'Dream of the Red Chamber'? And for the other colleges, there is basically a uniform tone. According to what I know, not a single college in the country has a lecturer who dares to go into specifics about 'Dream of the Red Chamber' with the students. Everyone avoids it if they can. Even if they talk about it, it would be a very tiny portion. Certain details, or even the main plot, are brushed aside. No one dares to give a detailed analysis, so slowly, there are no experts or professors who dare to touch it."
Why wouldn't they dare to?
What's wrong with the book?
Zhang Ye was really clueless. In his world, "Dream of the Red Chamber" was the best amongst the Four Great Classical Novels. There were countless people teaching it. The most famous was "Liu Xinwu Exposes the Secrets of Dream of Red Chamber". There was also another follow up with Liu Xinwu talking about "The True Ending of the novel 'Dream of the Red Chamber'" on "Lecture Room". It had caused quite a controversy back in his world. The ratings were also on par with "Yi Zhongtian's Analysis of the Three Kingdoms".
Professor Zeng looked at him and said, "Teacher Little Zhang, don't take the risk. I'm not doubting your literary standards, but there is no way to lecture 'Dream of the Red Chamber' in detail. Once you talk about it in detail, there will be problems, giving rise to doubts. Well, I teach History. My research towards the ancient classics aren't that thorough, so there's no way for me to know more than you. You will know once you go back and investigate the matter. My suggestion is that you carry on teaching about the Three Kingdoms. That is your forte, so it will be a waste to abandon it. I believe President Wu chose you to help save the situation was also because of your understanding of the Three Kingdoms and lecturing style."
Zhang Ye waved his hand, "I've already talked about the Three Kingdoms back in Beijing Television Station. What I wanted to express was also very complete. I don't plan on repeating myself."
Professor Zeng said helplessly, "That opinion of yours isn't right. The education of students is a repetitive process. I have taught for so many years and have nurtured so many new students, and every time, I have to repeat my previous lectures and theories. This is something that can test the limits of time. Teacher Little Zhang, you must listen to my advice. Even if you don't plan on teaching the Three Kingdoms, don't touch the trap that is 'Dream of the Red Chamber'!"
Zhang Ye was still puzzled!
Is 'Dream of the Red Chamber' so horrible?
"Make sure you remember it. Alright, I have a paper I need to rush out. Bye." Professor Zeng rushed off.
Zhang Ye's curiosity was increasingly piqued. He really refused to have his beliefs shaken. He rushed home immediately so as to check what this world's Redology was like!