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Female self-fashioning in late imperial China: How the gentlewoman and the courtesan edited her story and rewrote hi/story

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Chapter Summary

Women in seventeenth-century China publicly set out to fashion the female self by editing and publishing their own and other women’s writings. This chapter changes the gender perspective and turns to women writers and editors. This chapter aims to gain such access to the lives and culture of two women writers and editors from different social backgrounds Shen Yixiu (1590-1635), a gentlewoman from a rulingclass family and Liu Rushi (1618-1664), a celebrated courtesan in seventeenth-century Jiangnan, the Yangzi delta region, by examining their own words, the cultural discourse that their contemporaries constructed around them, and the historical context that enveloped their lives and their literary works. In Tian Yiheng’s opinion the act of editing women’s poetry equals in importance the composition of the Confucian classic Shi jing.

Keywords: seventeenth-century China; seventeenth-century Jiangnan; Shen Yixiu; Tian Yiheng; Yangzi delta region



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