Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism

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Stanford University Press, 1999 - Literary Collections - 891 pages
This anthology of Chinese women s poetry in translation brings together representative selections from the work of some 130 poets from the Han dynasty to the early twentieth century. To measure the development of Chinese women s poetry, one must take into account not only the poems but also the prose writings--prefaces, biographies, theoretical tracts--that framed them and attempted to shape women s writing as a distinct category of literature. To this end, the anthology contains an extended section of criticism by and about women writers.

These poets include empresses, imperial concubines, courtesans, grandmothers, recluses, Buddhist nuns, widows, painters, farm wives, revolutionaries, and adolescent girls thought to be incarnate immortals. Some women wrote out of isolation and despair, finding in words a mastery that otherwise eluded them. Others were recruited into poetry by family members, friends, or sympathetic male advocates. Some dwelt on intimate family matters and cast their poems as addresses to husbands and sons at large in the wide world of men s affairs. Each woman had her own reasons for poetry and her own ways of appropriating, and often changing, the conventions of both men s and women s verse.

The primary purpose of this anthology is to put before the English-speaking reader evidence of the poetic talent that flourished, against all odds, among women in premodern China. It is also designed to spur reflection among specialists in Chinese poetry, inspiring new perspectives on both the Chinese poetic tradition and the canon of female poets within that tradition. This partial history both connects with and departs from the established patterns for women s writing in the West, thus complementing current discussions of "feminine writing.

 

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Contents

Genealogy and Titles of the Female Poet
1
From Ancient Times to the Six Dynasties 222589
17
Tang 618907 and Five Dynasties 90760
46
Luanluan and Xu Yueying
76
Song Dynasty 9601279
86
Yuan Dynasty 12641368
115
Ming Dynasty 13681644
150
Chen Deyi
157
Ma Ruyu
329
Qing Dynasty 16441911
337
Ji Yinghuai
366
Wu Shan
383
Wang Hui
396
Qian Fenglun
411
Gu Zhenli
426
Xu Yingyu
443

The Sixteenth Century
171
Yuying
178
Wangjiaoluan
188
Yang Wenli
195
Lu Qingzi
239
Xu Yuan
257
The Seventeenth Century
266
Fang Weiyi
284
Xiang Lanzhen
290
Cao Jingzhao
302
Shang Jinglan
314
Wang Wei
320
Xu Yuanduan
465
Jin Yi
485
Shen Ke
498
Female Critics and Poets
669
anthology Yiren si
682
Male Cr1t1cs and Poets
719
liuxuji
801
A Chronological Chart of Chinese History
825
Bibliography
851
Index of Names
871
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