Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Behind “Burning”: Women Writers’ Self-Censorship and Self-Promotion

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

This article examines the phenomenon of women writers burning their own manuscripts, which took place during the Ming-Qing period. By analyzing women’s poems and biographies of women, this study explores the reasons and implications behind “burning.” The self-censorship embodied by “burning” was geared towards protecting female virtue or enabling women writers to express their intense personal emotions while promoting an ideal public self-image. For example, due to their gender and class-consciousness, upper-class women tended to portray themselves as virtuous ladies, whereas, in contrast, courtesan writers were fascinated with the power of love. However, the act of burning manuscripts could both lead to partial loss of an author’s works and imbue her writing with the tantalizing aura of an unfulfilled promise, thereby immortalizing the manuscripts that had almost been turned to ashes and publicizing the work of the formerly obscure author. In this sense, the “burning” is transformed into a literary conceit which promotes women’s writings instead of destroying them. This article demonstrates the dual functions of manuscript burning by Ming-Qing women: self-censorship and self-promotion.


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Frontiers of Literary Studies in China — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation