Chapter 328: The hope of Peking University’s Chinese department!
It was applause throughout!
“It’s really too damn awesome!”
“Teacher Zhang! I love you!”
“Teacher Zhang’s too good! He’s peerless!”
“Well said! I’ve never been in such a wonderful lecture before!”
“Teacher Zhang, will you still be the teacher for ‘Appreciation of the Classics’ next semester?”
“I’ve decided! I will be signing up for Teacher Zhang’s elective class next semester!”
The students were all giving their kudos. Su Na and a few other Peking University lecturers were giving the thumbs up to Zhang Ye from below the stage.
The audience had given him a standing ovation and the scene looked phenomenal. For Zhang Ye, who had done so many programs up until now, it was also the first time that he had encountered such a large standing ovation.
Zhang Ye was already leaving the stage after packing up his research papers and thermos flask, but he stopped and gave a wry smile. Then he put down his belongings and picked up the microphone, “Thank you everyone, class has ended. Students, please go back, many of you still have classes in the afternoon.”
The Peking University students did not want to leave, they continued applauding.
Wu Zeqing, Chang Kaige, and company were also doing the same. They smiled as they clapped along with the students.
No one left the venue. The members from the literary world naturally also stayed. It would be too obvious if they walked off now as the cameras were still recording, so they could only stay behind with everyone else.
“Thank you, everyone, please take your leave.” Zhang Ye clasped his hands together gratefully.
Still, no one left. In fact, the students clapped even louder!
Zhang Ye had nothing else he could do about it, so he said a few more words, “In the 2 classes of yesterday and today, we have spoken in general about how the first 80 chapters on the whole of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ were the original words of Mr Cao Xueqin. I believe my conclusion will be able to convince many people, and even if there are questions or doubts, no one can deny the possibility of what I said. You may use my point of view and direction to go carry out your research and analysis, and I hope that this will help the students and everyone else to understand ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ better, but what I want to express has already mostly been expressed in these 2 classes, so from here on I will not be repeating these points anymore. If we come across it, I might elaborate a little, but it would not be explained in as much detail as it was today. There is no need for purposely repeat it to insist that it is proven and I will be going forward onto other parts.”
“What else is there left to talk about?”
“Right, how will the class be taught going forward?”
“If we follow Teacher Zhang’s point of view that another author had continued writing on after the first 80 chapters, it would still be riddled with inconsistencies and flaws. So what’s there to talk about?”
“Yea, there’s nothing to speak about anymore.”
“We are still 7-8 lectures away from the exams?”
The Peking University students began to feel confused and stopped applauding, especially the students from Zhang Ye’s elective class. They were more concerned about how Teacher Zhang Ye would continue the class from here on.
The department dean, Chang Kaige, also thought about this problem. If there was a problem with the class schedule, it would be a big problem!
Zhang Ye smiled, “It seems like everyone still has some doubts. It is correct to feel doubtful, yes. So the question comes, for the repairing of excavators….alright, that is not it. How then shall we continue our class from here on?” He paused for a moment, and said, “Please stay tuned to my class tomorrow to find out!”
“He’s leaving us with a cliffhanger again!”
“Teacher Zhang is so wicked!”
“Haha, but I’m really looking forward to it!”
“I need to get here early tomorrow to reserve a seat! I have to get a front row seats!”
Zhang Ye said, “Class dismissed! Everyone quickly go to your next class!” Then he looked at the others, “Leaders, thank you for your hard work. Reporter comrades, thank you for your hard work too.”
The students finally began to leave the venue.
When Zhang Ye saw that the reporters were rushing forward for the kill, he quickly picked up his belongings and left from backstage.
But who knew, most of the reporters were not sprinting towards Zhang Ye. About half of them rushed forward towards the literary world members and pointed their large zoom cameras at them as they surrounded them.
That Jinshi female reporter shot a quick question out, “Teacher Yang, as one of the top Redology experts, what views do you have of the lecture by Teacher Zhang Ye today?”
Teacher Yang’s face did not look too good, “Please make way.. no comment.”
Another small Beijing newspaper’s reporter also went over, “Teacher Yang, the question that you asked and those other difficult problems that have plagued the Redology world for a long time seemed to all have been answered by Teacher Zhang Ye. We saw that you and the other Redologists did not refute or speak anymore after that, is this because all of you agree with Teacher Zhang Ye’s point of view? Does this mean that the author of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ after the first 80 chapters was indeed someone else? And not written by Cao Xueqin?”
Teacher Yang held on to his words for a moment, then said, “It’s not that I agree with Zhang Ye’s views, nor that he has explained it fully. His explanation and analysis was just from a different angle. As for the problem of the author of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, that would still remain an open question for now. It still needs everyone’s input after discussion and further research.”
A male reporter immediately followed up saying, “Then does that mean that the Redology world has now acknowledged that there is plausibility to what Teacher Zhang has proposed? And that the possibility is very high?”
Teacher Yang frowned, “I did not say that. I don’t represent the whole Redology world. Please, let me through. You can go interview someone else instead!”
“Vice-President Yan, what do you think of this man, Teacher Zhang Ye?” Another few reporters had gone over to Yan Yu.
Yan Yu did not dodge and answered, “I will not comment on Teacher Little Zhang as a person, but his literary standard is something that I really admire.”
He has talent?
But is not much of a person?
The reporters all understood the meaning of what she said. They got excited and continued to hound Yan Yu, “Will the Writers’ Association consider letting Teacher Zhang join your ranks?”
Yan Yu smirked and answered, “Elder Qian has recommended Zhang Ye before and the National Writers’ Association had previously sent Zhang Ye an invite too, but Teacher Little Zhang had posted a poem at that time— “Facing The Sea With Spring Blossoms”. This poem was very well written and was very artistic, but it basically carried a meaning of rejection. What you all need to know is that it is not us who do not want him, nor is it that the Writers’ Association is closed to accepting a disputed character. We welcome all kinds of talented people to join us, but Zhang Ye did not wish to join us. So it’s not like we can do anything about that. Maybe you should go ask him instead.”
A middle-aged reporter asked, “Vice-President Yan….”
Yan Yu motioned with her hand, “Alright, that will be all for now. I still have something to attend to.”
When a number of literary world members saw that from the side, they followed Yan Yu and Teacher Yang together out of the venue. They did not wish to be interviewed in any way. It was already embarrassing enough today that a bunch of seniors were outspoken by a junior. Their faces at this moment were burning with embarrassment and if they could have a chance again, they would not have come here. They had literally gifted themselves forward to have their faces stepped on!
Actually, many discerning people knew that what Zhang Ye had said today might not definitely be the correct, but it was only because he could explain it and a large part of his explanations were logical. Even when they felt that some of Zhang Ye’s views on certain details might not be the truth, they could not refute it for no other reason than simply because Zhang Ye could explain these logical inconsistencies. In the world of Redology, Zhang Ye was the only person who had given a reasonable analysis while no one else had. Because of this, they could not be sufficiently emboldened to speak up and thus became the victims of Zhang Ye’s killing spree!
How old was this Zhang even? How did he have such a deep understanding of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’? He alone could refute the entire Redology world? And he’s even more powerful than them?
The literary world members had all walked away with ashened heads and mudcaked faces!
Over there, department dean, Chang Kaige, was currently being interviewed by a reporter.
Chang Kaige said to the reporter with a smile, “Regarding Teacher Zhang Ye, we have always had high hopes for him, nor have we ever for a moment doubted our own lecturers. Everyone can see now that with Teacher Zhang Ye’s literary foundation, he is more than qualified to be a lecturer of the Peking University’s Chinese department. That he can come to Peking University to teach, it is also good for us, as well as a lucky outcome for the students who like classical novels. As for the doubts of our student’s parents that you mentioned earlier, and the doubts of the education and literary world, I believe that after today, they will all dissipate. Even if some doubt still remains, our Chinese department will fully support Teacher Little Zhang. We have reason to believe that from today onwards, Teacher Little Zhang’s elective class ‘Appreciation of the Classics’ would become a feature class of our Chinese department. It would become our Chinese department’s headline class!”
The department dean’s words resonated powerfully.
Only the teachers from the Chinese department were smiling to themselves. It was obvious to them that, whether it was Secretary Zhen or Dean Chang, they had not taken to Zhang Ye with this attitude at the beginning. Had high hopes for him, my ass! Support him, my ass! If it were not for President Wu’s opposition and insistence on bringing Zhang Ye on board into the Chinese department, how would it be possible that these department leaders would accept Zhang Ye. Then when Zhang Ye dropped the bombshell during the 1st lecture, the department wanted to throw Zhang Ye out as if he was a hot potato in their hands. When Zhang Ye cast doubt on the writer of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, it had scared the wits out of these leaders, but now, Zhang Ye had managed to solidify his academic accomplishments, making it impossible for those who opposed him to find a way through. It now felt like he was single-handedly going to change the history of Redology! Thus, the department’s change in attitude was no surprise. Zhang Ye was in the limelight and had gained face for the Chinese department. He even caused a sensation in society and the literary world. In the eyes of the department leaders, Zhang Ye had, in an instant, transformed from a stink bug into delicious hot cakes!
The Chinese department.
In the teacher’s office.
Zhang Ye put down his research papers and turned to his computer to organize some files for tomorrow’s class. He then printed them out on the printer.
Page after page of information slid out of the printer.
At this time, the Chinese department teachers also returned to the office.
A few other lecturers, who had just finished their lessons, heard about the news at the Grand Auditorium. They made their way back to the office and looked at Zhang Ye when they came in.
“Haha, Teacher Little Zhang!”
“You’ve brought us face today!”
“Well said!” Hur Hur, did you see that bunch of literary world members who were here to cause trouble? They all looked so crestfallen! My frustrations are all vented now!”
“They even wanted to come to the Chinese department to find fault with us? Are they sick in the head or something!”
“We are educators and it’s a basic to teach our lessons very rigorously. They are in a different line of work, yet they want to compete with us on logic and rigor? That’s like flaunting one’s skills in front of a master! They should have expected it. If Teacher Little Zhang did not have conclusive evidence, he would not dare to claim such things!”
Zhang Ye smiled, “Don’t. You’re praising me too much.”
Professor Wu looked at him, “It’s not that we’re over praising you. Just look at how the students applauded you at the end! Everyone recognizes you for what you are now.”
Another lecturer said, “That’s right. I’ve never seen students insisting on not ending a class, and strongly requesting for the teacher to give additional time. Nor have I seen students unanimously giving a standing ovation for two full minutes after a class. This also says a lot. Little Zhang, there’s no need to be so modest.”
Su Na chuckled as she gave him a thumbs up. “Nothing else to say. I’m convinced!”
“I’m convinced too. I plan on going back to read ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ once again. After listening to your lecture, only then did I realize that it contains such profound things!” A middle-aged female teacher said.
Professor Zeng also came in at this moment. He roared with laughter, “In a while, I still need to consult with Teacher Little Zhang on some things.”
Zhang Ye hurriedly said, “Please stop heaping praises on me. Hur Hur. I have only a studied a bit more on ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. In other fields, I still need to receive advice from all of you. In the future, I’ll definitely have a lot of academic problems I need to ask about, so please don’t think of me as irritating.”
“How can that be?”
“Go ahead and ask, we can have a chance to study the problem together.”
“Right, in the future, we will be seeking advice from you regarding ancient literature. History department. Hur Hur, as for History and text, you can ask Professor Zeng. Professor Zeng is even better than those professors from the History department. As for foreign literature and history, look for me if you have any questions. I teach that.”
Everyone expressed their friendliness and kindliness.
Some people even shook hands with him and introduced themselves. Before Zhang Ye came, many of them had not gotten the chance to introduce themselves.
Before, other than Teacher Su Na and Professor Zeng, everyone else was a little biased against Zhang Ye. Even if they weren’t biased against him, they did not hold much hope for him, but after today’s class, Zhang Ye was finally accepted into the group of teachers and everyone was very enthusiastic towards him. It could be said that people of literature were scornful to each other, but it wasn’t so here. After all, Peking University’s Chinese department’s staff all came from different fields of studies. There were no crossovers in their work. In terms of classical literature study, they were no match for Zhang Ye, but in other fields and subjects, Zhang Ye was no match for them either. So there was really nothing to be scornful of. It was more important to have mutual respect and recognition of each other as colleagues.
It was different from the attitude that the department leaders had adopted towards Zhang Ye. The department leaders had a lot more to consider, possibly things other than academic factors — like the Nationwide Tertiary Institution Rankings for the Chinese departments that had already started, but the results were still unknown. Based on the previous two years results, it did not seem optimistic for Peking University’s Chinese department and this was exactly what the department leaders were concerned about. Whereas for them as teachers of the Chinese department, a majority of them only recognized Zhang Ye because of his contributions to the study of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. These people, who were also in the field of literature, were utterly convinced by Zhang Ye’s knowledge and thus did not hold any more prejudices towards such an ‘outsider’ host. To be able to enter their field, it was actually very simple. All you needed was to show that you were up to it.
Zhang Ye started chatting with them.
In this teacher’s office, any random pick would be a well-known and top person in their field. Zhang Ye took great care being around them.
Suddenly, someone came in from outside.
It was the Chinese department’s Dean, Chang Kaige.
“Hur Hur, Dean.”
They greeted him.
Chang Kaige nodded in acknowledgment, then looked over to Zhang Ye. He said happily, “Teacher Little Zhang, you haven’t gone home yet? Don’t leave yet then. The reporters are blocking the way downstairs. I’ve gotten five security guards to go handle them.”
Everyone’s attention turned towards the commotion coming from downstairs. It was no surprise as Zhang Ye was a celebrity, so such treatment was normal for him.
Zhang Ye smiled, “Sure, I still need to prepare some information for tomorrow. I will leave once the reporters have left.”
Chang Kaige had clearly come to the teacher’s office to specially look for Zhang Ye. He did not summon Zhang Ye to his office, but rather personally personally came here. From this, it could be seen that Chang Kaige’s attitude had changed, “I have sought permission from President Wu earlier, as well as discussed with the various department leaders and we have decided that for next semester, ‘Appreciation of the Classics’ elective class should have you as the lecturer, are you alright with this arrangement?”
Previously, the contract was a temporarily drawn up and had a lot of limitations to it. If Zhang Ye did not lecture well, or if the students’ response wasn’t good, Peking University could ask Zhang Ye to leave at anytime. They would simply not hire him and that was that. As a result, Peking University had a lot of internal disputes. After Zhang Ye gave his first lecture, a Peking University leader had suggested firing Zhang Ye, but after the second lecture, there was no longer such a pressure to do so. As an academic staff member, Zhang Ye’s performance was outstanding. Therefore, Chang Kaige had actively suggested that they continue employing Zhang Ye for the next semester. Even to the rest of the Peking University departments’ leaders and professors, Zhang Ye was really the most suitable person to take over the ‘Appreciation of the Classics’ class!
Zhang Ye replied, “Of course I don’t have a problem with that. The only problem is time to do my primary job as a host. I might…..”
Chang Kaige smiled cheerfully, “That’s alright. You can freely arrange the schedule of your lectures, as long as you set a time and do it, the Chinese department will give you the thumbs up.”
Zhang Ye immediately said, “Thanks a lot then, Dean Chang.”
Chang Kaige continued chatting with Zhang Ye for a short while more before leaving.
At this moment, Chang Kaige, Zhen Shuquan, and the other leaders could only admire President Wu Zeqing’s talent for spotting new recruits. Even the most influential Professor Yan, who had not always liked Zhang Ye, no longer said anything about his employment.
This was because Zhang Ye’s appearance had brought hope to many people in the Chinese department!
Peking University was a top ranked institution domestically and the Chinese department had also dominated the rankings for the longest time, but three years ago, Peking University’s Chinese department had a setback. They were tied for first rank with Beijing Normal University’s Chinese department. Just last year, it got even worse. Peking University’s Chinese department was ranked second and was overtaken by Nanjing University’s Chinese department, which took first place. Even Tsinghua University’s Chinese department, which was usually not even considered a top tiered institution in Chinese had risen to third place and nearly overtook them.
Peking University was shocked!
The Chinese department’s leaders had a lot of pressure!
This year, under Wu Zeqing’s leadership, Zhen Shuquan and Chang Kaige had used many methods to try to improve and change the education environment of the Chinese department.
However, it was not very effective. If this situation carried on, the situation with the rankings would remain the same as last years. They might even be overtaken by Tsinghua University’s Chinese department, and this was an outcome that Peking University Chinese department leaders and lecturers absolutely could not accept. How could the perennial top dog be suppressed by others? Who could stand for that?
It was at this critical juncture that President Wu had invited Zhang Ye. Chang Kaige and many Peking University Chinese department teachers and professors finally had some hope!
Could Zhang Ye’s arrival turn the situation around?
Could the industry’s best program host use his popularity and knowledge to bring Peking University and their Chinese department a miracle?
Translators’ Notes: Here is that promised chapter for 500,000 views. It probably hasn’t updated to reflect yet, but I’ll just post it early :) Also, another bonus chapter will be released every 250,000 views from now till the end of October! So see you with a bonus chapter at 750,000 views! ;)