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Chapter Summary

As long ago as 1992, Charlotte Furth, in her introduction to a special issue of Late Imperial China on women's literary culture, noted the impact on research of the "recovery of a very substantial body of literary production by late imperial upper-class women". Indeed, the rediscovery of pre-Republican Chinese women's poetry and other writings by social and cultural historians and literary scholars in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries has led to new critical and methodological approaches, reoriented and shaped research agendas, and shifted the terms of historical inquiry. The work of Dorothy Ko and others has demonstrated the conjunction of social, cultural, and economic trends, commercial printing, family publication, the privatization of family life in the Ming and Qing, among other factors, that contributed to the growing prevalence of educating girls in elite families in some regions, particularly the Yangzi Delta area.

Keywords: Chinese women's poetry; Late Imperial China; Ming and Qing



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