Two Centuries of Manchu Women Poets

An Anthology

Translated by Wilt L. Idema

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  • $50.00s hardcover (9780295999869) Add to Cart
  • Published: April 2017
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; Literature / Poetry; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 328 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

This anthology presents substantial selections from the work of twenty Manchu women poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The poems, inspired by their daily life and reflections, provide fascinating insights into the experiences and emotions of these women, most of whom belonged to the elite families of Manchu society. Each selection is accompanied by biographical material that illuminates the life stories of the poets. The volume's introduction describes the printing history of the collections from which these poems are drawn, the authors' practice of poetry writing, ethnic and gender issues, and comparisons with the poetry of women in South China and of male authors of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).
Wilt L. Idema is professor emeritus of Chinese literature at Harvard University. He is the translator of Heroines of Jiangyong: Chinese Narrative Ballads in Women's Script and Meng Jiangnu Brings Down the Great Wall: Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend, and coauthor of The Red Brush: Writing Women of Imperial China.

"Each poem is meticulously handled. . . . And while the text is accessible to a general readership, Idema has equipped the anthology with tools that specialized researchers will appreciate."
-Evelyn Rawski, Distinguished University Professor Emerita of History, University of Pittsburgh

"Demonstrating erudition in premodern Chinese literature and a critical perspective that allows him to move beyond the boundaries of one culture, Wilt Idema provides precious materials for historians of Manchu society and culture."
-Xiaorong Li, author of Women's Poetry of Late Imperial China: Transforming the Inner Chambers

1. The Women of the Nalan Family: Miss Nalan, Sibo, and Madam Zhaojia
2. A Prisoner's Mother and Wife: The Mistress of the Study for Nurturing Simplicity and the Mistress of the Orchid Pavilion
3. Chastity and Suicide: Xiguang
4. Mourning Royalty: Lady Zhoujia, Lady Tongjia, and Lady Fucha
5. Sacrifice and Friendship: Bingyue
6. A Tomboy in a Silly Dress: Mengyue
7. Unbridled Energy: Yingchuan
8. Releasing Butterflies: Wanyan Jinchi
9. Seeking Refuge in Truth: Guizhen Daoren
10. Traveling throughout the Empire: Baibao Youlan
11. A Proud Descendant of Chinggis Khan: Naxun Lanbao
12. From Hengyang to Beijing: Lingwen Zhuyou
13. The Modest Pursuit of a Minor Way: Duomin Huiru
14. A Poet from the Homeland: Lady Husihali

Glossary of Chinese Characters

"Exhibiting the deft touch of an experienced translator, Idema has rendered these women's compositions into exquisite yet accessible language. . . . [This anthology] challenges us to confront and rethink many of the preconceived notions and categories that we have used to analyze topics regarding gender and ethnicity, potentially opening the door for new exciting research in these fields."
-Bingyu Zheng, China Review International: A Journal of Reviews of Scholarly Literature in Chinese Studies

"Offers new insights into how these women both accommodated and adapted Chinese poetic conventions to their own situation. The translations are sensitively written and reflect the impressionistic nature, emotionality and poignancy that characterize the oeuvre of these women."
-Anne E. McLaren, Monumenta Serica