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Wanton Women in Late-Imperial Chinese Literature

Models, Genres, Subversions and Traditions

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Edited by Mark Stevenson and Cuncun Wu

The contributors to Wanton Women in Late-Imperial Chinese Literature: Models, Genres, Subversions and Traditions draw attention to ‘wanton woman’ themes across time as they were portrayed in court history (McMahon), fiction (Stevenson), drama (Lam, Wu), and songs and ballads (Ôki, Epstein, McLaren). Looking back, the essays challenge us with views of sexual transgression that are more heterogeneous than modern popular focus on Pan Jinlian would suggest. Central among the many insights to be found is that despite gender performance in Chinese history being overwhelmingly determined by the needs of patriarchal authority, men and women in the late imperial period discovered diverse ways in which to reflect on how men constantly sought their own bearings in reference to women.