Chinese Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination, 1905-1948
By Haiping Yan
Routledge – 2008 – 312 pages
Chinese Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination, 1905-1948 provides a compelling study of leading women writers in modern China, charting their literary works and life journeys to examine the politics and poetics of Chinese transcultural feminism that exceed the boundaries of bourgeois feminist selfhood.
Unlike recent literary studies that focus on the discursive formation of the modern Chinese nation state and its gendering effects, Haiping Yan explores the radical degrees to which Chinese women writers re-invented their lives alongside their writings in distinctly conditioned and fundamentally revolutionary ways.
The book draws on these women's voluminous works and dramatic lives to illuminate the range of Chinese women's literary and artistic achievements and offers vital sources for exploring the history and legacy of twentieth-century Chinese feminist consciousness and its centrality in the Chinese Revolution. It will be of great interest to scholars of gender studies, literary and cultural studies and performance studies.
'Yan carefully balances historical inquiry and literary criticism to highlight the ways in which the writers aspired to overcome many of the pressures bearing on contemporary Chinese women … Chinese Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination is an important complement to recent works by Tani Barlow and Nicole Huang.' - Norman Smith, Pacific Affairs, Winter 2006
'This is a powerfully written book that engages in a timely dialogue and debate with existing studies of Chinese women writers and women’s writing; their meaning and significance with regard to the struggles of modern China; and the historical choices made in that violent first half of the twentieth century.' - XUEPING ZHONG, Tufts University, The Journal of Asian Studies, 2008
Introduction: On Empowerment 1. Unseen Rhythms, Sea Changes 2. Qiu Jin and Her Imaginary 3. The Stars of Night: Bing Xin and the Literary Constellation of the 1920s 4. Other Life: Bai Wei, Yuan Changying, and Social Dramas in the 1930s 5. War, Death, and the Art of Existence: Mobile Women in the 1940s 6. Rhythms of the Unreal [I]: Early Ding Ling and a Feminist Passage 7. Rhythms of the Unreal [II]: The Ding Ling Story and the Chinese Revolution. Afterword: Then and Now
Yan Haiping is University Professor of Cross-cultural Studies and the Director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Media and Society at Shanghai Jiaotong University, China and Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Economy and Culture at Cornell University, USA.