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The Cultivation of Female Talent

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This article reviews the attitudes of Qing commentators on several issues concerning women's literacy, education, and upbringing for the period 1650-1800. Although there is much evidence to demonstrate that not all male scholars wanted literate mothers, wives, or daughters, many women in this era did learn to read and write. But there was a strong emphasis on literary learning for moral refinement and the attainment of ‘virtue’ Female-authored poetry was regarded on the one hand, as indicative of a certain level of intellectual achievement, and on the other hand, as frivolous. In general, the Qing debate on women acquiring talent was part of a wider discussion on the interrelationship of female virtue, talent, and happiness.

Affiliations: 1: Hong Kong


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