The Influence of Nietzsche in Wang Guowei’s essay “On the dream of the red chamber”

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Philosophy East & West

Publication Date






First Page


Last Page



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.



Print ISSN




Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2004 by University of Hawai‘i Press

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

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 http://www.jstor.org/stable/1400236