J: And I'm Jody! Welcome to American Cafe! Thanks for dropping in.
Y: Jody 我今天好高兴！
J: Why are you so excited?
J: Oh, well no wonder you are so happy! I know how much you love Hongloumeng.
J: Yes, well, to you...it is.
J: Really? 那我象红楼梦里的那个人物？
Y: 这个我等会儿再告诉你。我们先来让大家认识一下 Millward 教授，他还有个中文名字，叫米华健。他其实是历史教授。
J: A history professor? Then why he is teaching Hongloumeng?
James Millward: Well, I've always taught Chinese history and I thought, well it would be nice to teach something that stresses the cultural side of Chinese history as well. And so I thought why not teach Hongloumeng and I wonder if we could use Hongloumeng as a historical source to understand 18th century China.
J: That is much more creative because, you know, history can be pretty boring. yawn!
J: But I wonder what can they learn from Hongloumeng. Isn't it just a love story?
James Millward: We read about Qing Dynasty government and Qing Dynasty society, and the legal system. There are a lot of court cases talked about in the book, Xue Pan. And we read about gender, history of gender and gender relations and women. We read about poetry and the role of poetry and, in particular, about women writing poetry; we read about art and art history.
J: Wow. So it's not just a boy-meets-girl love story.
Y: 当然不是！ 《红楼梦》可不是一部简单爱情小说.它其实是一部社会小说。
J: Well, did the students like the book?
James Millward: They liked it. They did find it long. They were glad when they were done. You know, if you sit down in the summer and read the whole thing from beginning to end, it doesn't feel long; but if you are reading it every week, it's like homework, and so it's not as much fun.
Y: 你听到了吗， 米华健教授也说了，夏天读《红楼梦》是一种真正的享受。
J: Yeah, but how long is it, Yang Chen?
J: 不太长? What do you mean!?!? One hundred twenty chapters? Hey, is there a comic book version of Hongloumeng?
Y: 有啊， 我就有一套。不过我建议你先看原著。 也许是因为文化差异，美国学生和中国学生看《红楼梦》会有不同的感受， 我问米华健教授他的学生最喜欢哪个人物.他是这么说的：
James Millward: I know in China as well there is always a big debate about who would you rather have as your wife, Lin Daiyu or Xue Baochai. Generally American students found Lin Daiyu to be kind of whiny, and to be lying there all the time and complaining all the time and they didn't really like her character very much. Some of them liked Xue Baochai, although of them found her a little bit calculating. Many of them actually liked Wang Xifeng because they saw her as a very capable woman.
J: Whiny. That's not a good trait for a woman.
J: Calculating? That's another bad quality. Are there any good women to like in Hongloumeng.
J: Why? What's wrong with her?
Y: She's perfect!
J: Oh, okay. I'll have to read the book to find out because, Yang Chen, maybe I don't believe you.
J: Now what about you? Hongloumeng is your favorite book. I know you've read many many times, which character would you like to play?
J: Jia Baoyu. Who's that?
J: A man! Well, we're going to have to talk about that later. Thanks for joining us on today's American Cafe.
J: A man? What do you mean a man?