The Warning Voice is the third of the five volumes of Cao Xueqin’s The Story of the Stone. The 1981 translation of The Warning Voice is the third and final volume translated by David Hawkes. The final two volumes were translated by Hawkes’ student, John Minford. Although the first three volumes were translated by Hawkes and the final two by Minford, they comprise one long translation project.
This volume begins with a discussion by Hawkes of the challenges inherent in conveying this volume effectively. Prominent among the issues face: due to the history of the text’s creation and publication two centuries ago, the tale is somewhat contradictory, almost as though in the course of producing five different drafts, Cao Xueqin and his editors lost track of characters’ names and fates.