Chapter 323: Answering Every Logical Error!
It was a bit quiet.
Many people were still digesting and trying to make sense of Zhang Ye's words.
Zhang Ye said, "Everyone, take a moment to ruminate over it. I'll drink a mouthful of water. Hur Hur."
Zhang Ye had brought a water flask here. After opening the thermo-sealing lid, there was Pu'er tea inside. He had brewed it in the teachers' office before coming. The water was still warm, and as the tea leaves entered his mouth, it was not that fragrant, but had a mellow taste. He liked the taste of ripe Pu'er. Not only did it warm the stomach during the Winter, it also helped him relax and organize his mental processes. Of course, Zhang Ye had been relaxed since he stepped on stage. On-stage, in a venue with thousands of people, so many reporters and cameras, so many students, teachers and peers from the literary world that were here to discredit him, he was in no way stunned or nervous. That expression of leisure that he gave while drinking tea seemed like he was lying in bed at home. From the look of it, if a bed was placed on-stage, Zhang Ye would really dare to lie on it.
Few could attain that level of serenity.
If it were any other Peking University lecturer, or instead of lecturers but rather professors who give public lectures all year round, against such a big fuss, they would be a bit tensed or nervous.
However, Zhang Ye wasn't.
This was the basic standards of a professional host.
Most of this could be explained because of Zhang Ye's personality. He was always a person with a heartless attitude. The Heavens did not give him good looks, nor a good body, but where there were losses, there were also gains. This level of calmness and lack of stage fright was probably his compensation.
After he finished drinking.
The class carried on.
Zhang Ye held the microphone and asked, "Just now, I explained some structural problems of 'Dream of the Red Chamber' and its analysis. Students, do you have any other questions?"
No one spoke.
"Little Song?" Zhang Ye named.
Senior Song stood up and said, "I still need to digest it for a little longer."
Zhang Ye named a person who loved to speak, "Little Zhou?"
Senior Zhou said with a wry smile, "I also need to carry on listening. I'll temporarily refrain from speaking."
With a smile, Zhang Ye said, "Alright then. Next, I'll be talking about..."
"Hold on." Redologist Teacher Yang from the first row finally spoke up. He had been holding it in from the beginning, so he could not remain silent any further. Because it would appear that they, as a bunch of seniors and experts, had been dumbfounded by a junior. They would be greatly ashamed if that was the case. Hence, even though Teacher Yang did not study the structural problems of 'Dream of the Red Chamber' in the past, he had to use his own methods to refute. By avoiding the structure, he switched to another method. He lifted the microphone to his mouth while sitting down. "I cannot readily subscribe to your so-called nine times twelve structure of 'Dream of the Red Chamber'. The structural divisions you mentioned might be a coincidence, and might not be able to prove that the chapters after the eightieth were not written by Cao Xueqin. The Redology world has already decided that Mr Cao Xueqin made mistakes while writing his book due to his illness in old age or other similar reasons. This is also the reason behind Jia Baoyu's change in personality."
Zhang Ye smiled and said, "How the Redology world studied it and came to such a conclusion, I have no idea, nor do I agree. My point of view is actually opposite from all of you. Mr Cao Xueqin was completely fine. The logical errors in the book were not a result of him being sick. The 108 chapters of 'Dream of the Red Chamber' also existed. Cao Xueqin had whole finished writing it on the whole. This can be seen from Fucha Mingyi's poem I mentioned in class yesterday."
Teacher Yang was waiting for him to say that. With a chuckle, he retorted, "Alright then. Since you say so, then I want to ask this. You said that only the first 80 chapters of 'Dream of the Red Chamber' presently circulated was written by Cao Xueqin, and Mr Cao did not make low-level mistakes because of physiological problems. Alright then, let's follow this line of thought and only talk about the first 80 chapters. You previously mentioned that you could explain them all?"
Zhang Ye said surely, "Of course."
Another young Redologist said, "Are you sure?"
"Hur Hur, I'm very sure. You can go ahead and ask." Zhang Ye did not mind as he said, "But I need to make it clear first that it's the first 80 chapters on the whole, and not the first 80 chapters."
Teacher Yang snorted and said, "Alright, then how do you explain the time of death of Lin Ruhai?"
A young Redologist also added fuel to fire by saying, "I also want to ask. Qin Keqing died from an illness contradicting the Registers. How do you explain that?"
Zhang Ye did not answer and instead said, "Are there anymore questions? I can talk about all of them together."
Yan Yu, who held an esteemed status in the literary world, also spoke. "Grandmother Jia's birthday problem, as well as the problem of Jia Baoyu's age."
A bunch of questions were thrown at him!
These were all the problems that the Redology world could not explain to date!
Fine, didn't you boast saying you can explain everything? Then explain it to us!
At this moment, the people from the literary world launched their first attack on Zhang Ye. Initially, due to the structural problems, they could not find an opportunity to attack Zhang Ye, because Zhang Ye had caught them by surprise. He had explained the structural divisions perfectly, and could be said to be incisive. It had once again caused a major breakthrough in Redology. Hence, they could not find an excuse to attack him, but now, Zhang Ye was too overbearing. He dared to say that he could explain all logical problems. As such, the people from the literary world could now speak!
There were about seven or eight questions, all with major logical errors. And it was those dead-end problems. There were no solutions after many years of study. They wanted to see what Zhang Ye had to say!
The Peking University students also began to stir.
"Things are going bad!"
"That bunch of Redologists have attacked!"
"Can Teacher Zhang explain it? That's impossible!"
"Only by going head-to-head would it be interesting!"
"Will Teacher Zhang Ye make it?"
Some students were very excited and waited to watch the bustle. Yao Mi and other students were all downcast. They looked at Zhang Ye with worried expressions. As for Senior Zhou, who always asked questions and tried to refute Zhang Ye, he also began to worry for Zhang Ye. Truthfully, Senior Zhou was still doubtful of Zhang Ye's point, but ultimately, this was a matter of their class. It was an exchange between teacher and students. It was a literary debate happening with Peking University, and that bunch of people from the literary world were outsiders. They were here to "cause trouble", so be it Senior Zhou or Zhang Ye, they were all from Peking University. As such, they had a feeling of uniting against a foreign attacker.
Zhang Ye looked at them. "Is that all?"
Professor Ma Hengyuan sneered, "First answer those questions."
Zhang Ye nodded. "Alright, then I'll answer them. However, I'll put aside Vice President Yan's question for the moment. I'll first answer the first few questions."
Yan Yu glanced at him.
Teacher Yang said, "Alright, we'll listen to what you have to say."
No one believed that Zhang Ye could explain it!
They did not know that Zhang Ye had long anticipated their questions. After all, research in Redology was limited in its ways. There were only a few logical errors, so they couldn't ask anything new. It was easy to guess. "Everyone, please take a look at the screen. Take a look at the information I provided first." Zhang Ye and the Peking University staff had a short exchange before the other party immediately found the document, and projected it on screen.
The second daughter?
Jia Yingchun's information?
Zhang Ye scanned the crowd and said, "Jia Yingchun is very familiar to everyone. The problem with origins should also be known by everyone. However, I believe anyone who really studies 'Dream of the Red Chamber' will discover that a few ancient manuscripts, that were passed down, described Jia Yingchun's origins differently. The information I have here are the records of a few ancient manuscripts. Please take a look."
She is the second daughter of Sir Jia She by his former wife.
She is the second daughter of Sir Jia She by his wife.
She is the second daughter of Sir Jia Zheng by his former wife.
She is the second daughter of Sir Jia She by his concubine.
She is the second daughter of Sir Jia She, adopted by Sir Jia Zheng as his own.
A few Redologists frowned. Firstly, they did not understand why Zhang Ye provided this information. Secondly, this was another field they were not familiar with. They had indeed seen such things. This included Yan Yu, Teacher Yang, and even Ma Hengyuan knew of it, but as it was more abstruse, Jia Yingchun was considered a side character that was not very important. Hence, there was not much research on her from the world of Redology. Furthermore, as there were too many logical inconsistencies in 'Dream of the Red Chamber', there were many errors that were available for them to discover and research on, so why would they discuss the birth origins of a side character who did not matter? Why does this Zhang Ye keep producing things they were not familiar with?
After finishing, Zhang Ye said, "The five ancient manuscripts describe it differently. We all know that every manuscript of the 'Dream of the Red Chamber' has a validated source. Is this a mistake during the copying process? Clearly not. If the first four manuscripts were copied wrongly due to an error, then the fifth manuscript can't be a result of erroneous copying, considering that it's such a long line. That is impossible. The only explanation that results in this confusion is that Cao Xueqin was repeatedly under deliberation. He kept modifying it, because he had not decided on it nor finalized it. This resulted in several completely different manuscripts. I believe this is without a doubt unquestionable!"
Professor Zeng nodded slightly.
Teacher Yang and Ma Hengyuan remained expressionless as they sat there quietly.
Zhang Ye said, "Then with this foundation and knowledge, the questions posed by everyone can be easily solved. Wasn't Cao Xueqin writing improperly after he fell ill? But the so-called logical errors everyone mentioned are all at the beginning. Was he seriously ill right from the beginning? His brain was in a mess? Hence, this is actually because Cao Xueqin was not done with his editing. He had not fully finalized his manuscript. The problems with Lin Ruhai's time of death, Qin Keqing's death from illness and the fifth chapter's Register, to put it bluntly, are just side issues. It is a result of tweaking the ending of individual characters, as well as some simple text changes!"
Teacher Yang refuted, "Didn't you say that the 108 chapters of 'Dream of the Red Chamber' was done writing?"
"It was finished, roughly." Zhang Ye said, "But finishing it doesn't mean it was finalized. I believe any friend who has written a book will have some experience in this. There are quite a number of authors present, and I happen to be an author as well, so I know very well the things that go on behind the scenes. Let's not even talk about authoring books. The students present probably have experienced it themselves. When you write your essays or theses, is it finalized once you finish writing?"
The Peking University students all shook their heads.
"That's right, it still needs editing."
"Yes, we definitely need to read it a few times and modify things again."
Zhang Ye smiled. "Cao Xueqin was the same too."
Teacher Yang sneered, "If you want to explain it this way, then the logical errors after chapter 80 can also be explained this way. How then are you proving that it was written by two different people?"
Zhang Ye shook his hand and said, "That's different. It's completely different in concept. The logical errors after the eightieth is not something you can explain away by modifying a few words or paragraphs. That involves the entire book's layout. It involves an error with the core thinking process. We will find it very hard to believe that Cao Xueqin's original intent of causing the Jia family to be 'left the landscape desolate and bare'. Yet, he suddenly changed to allow the Jia family to be revived. Grandmother Jia was originally a loving grandmother, but the author suddenly changed her into a heartless family elder. Jia Baoyu was originally 'for uselessness the world's prize he might bear; his gracelessness in history has no peer', but the author suddenly made him want to bring glory to his ancestors. We find it even harder to believe that Cao Xueqin went from a person who had seen through the ephemeral nature of life, to suddenly a person who was passionate about fame and glory!"
Zhang Ye's mincing of words with the parallel sentences made those Redologists speechless!
Zhang Ye said, "When people write their theses, they will go back and change some minor details. They can also change some text. They would adjust some typographical errors, but will you change the core idea of your theses and central point of view? Impossible! So using this to explain it away doesn't make sense either!"
He really managed to explain it!
And his explanation was reasonable!
Teacher Yang's face was a bit sunken. Meng Dongguo's eyes also turned cold. Once again, they never expected Zhang Ye to not talk using the book's content once again when explaining this unsolvable errors. He had changed perspectives once again, and had managed to explain it using the logical workflow of an author!
Yan Yu squinted his eyes. "Then how do you explain the problem with Grandmother Jia? I don't understand why you would single out my question."
Zhang Ye smiled and said, "If I were an ordinary reader, or an ordinary researcher, the problem with Grandmother Jia's age could be explained this way. The author did not edit it in time, and everyone would definitely be able to accept this explanation. There would then be no need to come up with more superfluous explanations, but, I can't do that. This is because my role now is that of a teacher. I have to be rigorous in academia. The reason why I singled out the problem with Grandmother Jia is because her situation is more special. It cannot be explained using the same generalizations as before. If I were to lecture in that manner, then that would be me being irresponsible to my students!"
"What's special about it?"
"It feels the same?"
"That's right. Grandmother Jia's problem is just with her birthdate and age?"
The Peking University students began talking about it.
Zhang Ye began to speak in detail. "If no one mentioned it, I was not planning on talking about it, but since we are on the topic, I'll briefly talk about it. About Grandmother Jia's birthday problem, is it Chapter 71's 'third day of the eighth month'? Or is it Chapter 62's 'the fifteenth of the first month is Aunt Xing's birthday and also Cousin Chai's'? These two original texts are conflicting. However, according to my research, according to matching with Baochai's birthday, I deduce that chapter 62's 'the fifteenth of the first month' is a birthday that will agree with the plot. The other reason is because of Grandmother Jia's words in chapter 39. "Now, old kinswoman,' said Grandmother Jia, 'and what would your age be?' 'Seventy-five this year', said Grannie Liu. Grandmother Jia turned round to the others present. 'That's several years older than me. Fancy still being so fit and lively! Heaven only knows what I shall be like at that age!' This also indicates that Grandmother Jia's birthday does not exceed 74 years of age, but Chapter 71's words were 'the third day of the eighth month was Grandmother Jia's eightieth birthday'!"
Everyone recalled it!
Indeed, there were the exact words!
Zhang Ye summed up his conclusions and said, "So I can be certain that the third day of the eighth month is fake. 80 years old? This age is a giant leap. No matter how you arrange it or fictionalize it, it is clearly not Grandmother Jia's true birthday and age. Hence, the text in chapter 71...was post-edited. This is also why when everyone raised their questions, I had specially emphasized that I can only explain the logical errors of the first eighty chapters 'on the whole'. This is because the text and original manuscript of the first 80 chapters of Cao Xueqin were also lost or tampered with, or could also be erroneously copied. Grandmother Jia's birthday problem is a result of that. This passage might have been lost along with the chapters after the eightieth. It might be Gao E or some other anonymous writer who continued the story, that took the liberty of modifying it! This resulted in such a major flaw. Hence, this flaw is different from the other flaws. Naturally, I need to single it out!"
It was reasonable!
It was well explained!
Zhang Ye once again stunned everyone!
Those reporters could not understand a thing. Even if they had read 'Dream of the Red Chamber', they still could not react to the various things Zhang Ye mentioned. They found it extremely profound and intricate. Them not understanding did not mean they could not observe others. When they saw the expressions of the literary scholars and Redologists in the first row, no matter how dumb they were, they could tell that Teacher Zhang Ye's explanation and analysis was very convincing!
"So it can be smoothly explained in this way!"
"Could it be that the chapters after the eightieth was really authored by another person?"
Yao Mi was very happy and began giggling. Her Uncle Zhang was too domineering!
The hearts of the brothers, Li Ying and Li Li, who were sitting beside her, were racing. Teacher Zhang Ye's viewpoint was impacting their existing understand in an increasing fashion!
Wu Zeqing smiled without a word.
Chang Kaige and Professor Zeng kept nodding their heads.
The other Peking University lecturers and other external historical experts were deep in thought!
Zhang Ye did not fail to answer any of the logical problems that had plagued the Redology world all this while. He explained all of them in one go!
The people from the world of literature just kept looking at one another.
Yesterday, while watching the video lecture on Peking University's official website, they didn't feel much, but now, only at the venue, did they know that this person, Zhang Ye, was so good at explaining. A few of them had indeed been stunned by the points raised and explanations given by Zhang Ye! Zhang Ye had opened up a new line of thought they had never thought of!
Furthermore, what made these people from the literary world shocked was not Zhang Ye's explanation from various levels of interpretation, but his deep understanding of 'Dream of the Red Chamber'. He was more familiar with it than them, who had studied 'Dream of the Red Chamber' for years to decades! Did he memorize the entire 'Dream of the Red Chamber'? Zhang Ye's thorough analysis and quotations of the original text was said on the fly. He did not use an outline. What he said was all off-script! None of them had appeared on the screen or documentation! Such a large amount of evidence and information were all read out by Zhang Ye ad verbatim!
The exact paragraph.
He spoke it without thinking. He did not even stammer. This was such an exaggeration in their opinion! Ignoring those Redologists who came today, no one from the entire Redology world could achieve Zhang Ye's standard! Regardless if Zhang Ye's perspective was right or wrong, it was certain that he knew 'Dream of the Red Chamber'. Furthermore, he had probably researched more thoroughly than experts, like them, in many areas!
With the facts before them, half of these people from the world of literature had even uglier faces!
But after the embarrassment, Redologist, Teacher Yang was still confident. In his opinion, from the moment Zhang Ye said that he could "answer it all", Zhang Ye had pushed himself into a corner. This was because in Redology studies, there was a logical problem no one dared raise for it was unsolvable!
No! That problem could not be explained in any way!