The Inner Quarters and Beyond

Women Writers from Ming through Qing

Series:

Only recently has the enormous literary output of women writers of the Ming and Qing periods (1368-1911) been rediscovered. Through these valuable texts, we apprehend in ways not possible earlier the complexity of women’s experiences in the inner quarters and their varied responses to challenges facing state and society. Writing in many genres, women engaged with topics as varied as war, travel, illness, love, friendship, female heroism, and religion. Drawing on a library of newly digitized resources, this volume's eleven chapters describe, analyze, and theorize these materials. They question previous assumptions about women’s lives and abilities, open up new critical space in Chinese literary history and offer new perspectives on China’s culture and society.

“This volume rewrites the history of Chinese women’s literature by taking a truly inter-disciplinary (instead of merely multi-disciplinary) approach. In so doing, it ends up illuminating the centrality of writing women to the social, political, and intellectual lives of the Chinese empire from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.”
Prof. Dorothy Ko, Barnard College, Columbia University, author of Cinderella's Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding (California, 2005).
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Biographical Note

Grace S. Fong (Ph.D. 1984, University of British Columbia) is Professor of Chinese Literature at McGill University. She has published extensively on classical Chinese poetry and women's writings in the Ming and Qing dynasties including Herself an Author: Gender, Agency, and Writing in Late Imperial China (University of Hawai'i Press, 2008)

Ellen Widmer (Ph.D. 1981, Harvard) is Professor of Chinese Studies at Wellesley College. She has published numerous articles on late imperial Chinese women, as well as a monograph entitled The Beauty and The Book: Women and Fiction in Nineteenth Century China (Harvard 2006).

Review Quotes

“This volume rewrites the history of Chinese women’s literature by taking a truly inter-disciplinary (instead of merely multi-disciplinary) approach. In so doing, it ends up illuminating the centrality of writing women to the social, political, and intellectual lives of the Chinese empire from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.”

Prof. Dorothy Ko, Barnard College, Columbia University, author of Cinderella's Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding (California, 2005).

'..this volume is a most welcome addition to the growing body of scholarship on women and women's writing in the late imperial era. The essays are uniformly well researched and well written and unusually well cohesive in mutually reinforcing the argument for the social and political significance of women's writings long before the May Fourth Movement.'
Paul S. Ropp, Clark University, China Review International, 18 (2011)

Readership

All those interested in Chinese literature, culture, history, and society, as well as women's and gender studies and comparative literature.

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