Review Essay: Negotiating the Traditional and the Modern: Chinese Women's Literature from the Late Imperial Period through the Twentieth-Century
University of Tulsa
The three books above complement each other in their coverage of Chinese women's literary genres from the late fourteenth through the early twentieth century. The authors' theoretical inquiries invite consideration of the following questions: what meaning, if any, might a feminist imagination or approach have in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) eras, early and late Republican China (1911-1948), and beyond? What do these works have in common regarding the resituating of women's literary status, the reclamation of feminine agency, and the empowerment of female subjectivity in China's literary tradition? These books can be considered in dialogue with Western feminism and studies of women's literature through their various critical lenses, whether revisionist, historicist, feminist, or postmodernist. This essay reflects on how the authors assess the balance between women writers' personal trajectories and their collective presence in China's literary history. It also asks whether the authors presuppose a feminine self as the locus of their scholarship.
“Review Essay: Negotiating the Traditional and the Modern: Chinese Women’s Literature from the Late Imperial Period through the Twentieth-Century.” Tulsa Studies of Women's Literature 32.1, 195-220.