Women's Poetry and Poetics in Late Imperial China: A Dialogic Engagement

By Wang, Yanning | Chinese Literature, Essays, Articles, Reviews, December 2019 | Go to article overview

Women's Poetry and Poetics in Late Imperial China: A Dialogic Engagement


Wang, Yanning, Chinese Literature, Essays, Articles, Reviews


(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)

Women's Poetry and Poetics in Late Imperial China: A Dialogic Engagement, by Haihong Yang. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2017. Pp. 192. $90.00 (hardcover).

This book adopts a dialogic approach to examine how women-authored poetry and poetic criticism participated in the reconstruction of Chinese literary tradition in late imperial China. In order to obtain a territory of their own in the male-dominant literary arena, women writers had to legitimize their act of writing and challenge the preexisting linguistic system to demonstrate their own originality. In particular, centering on the shi genre, Haihong Yang studies traditions, tropes, subgenres and poetic devices in women's poems and criticism on poetry. Joining the fast-growing corpus of studies that explores the writing of Chinese women, especially late imperial women, Yang's monograph is ambitious and effective.

In addition to the "Introduction" and "Epilogue," the book encompasses five chapters. In Chapter One, Yang illustrates how late imperial women critics effectively responded to the criticism that women's poetry lacks a root (ben ⅜), a crucial notion in Chinese poetics. Lacking a root indicates that the following range of elements may be missing in women's poetry: authentic feelings of the poet, moral messages with social significance, a rich reservoir of narratives about and by women to complement and confirm poems, and ultimately, a distinctive women's writing tradition. To dispute such a stereotype, women writers composed poetic criticism by themselves. In particular, this chapter delves into Wang Duanshu's ... (1621-ca.1685) criticism in her anthologies she compiled and Wang Ying's ... (1781-1842) critical positions in her poetics in verse (lun shi shi ...). Analyzing the narratives, such as the prefaces and short remarks concerning individual female writers and their poems in Wang Duanshu's anthologies, Yang argues that Wang has effectively identified the association between ben (Confucian classics) and women's poetry to valorize women's writing. Wang asserts that groups of women have creatively learned, practiced and preserved the essence of Confucian classics. Wang's poetics not only pays attention to moral significance, notably Ming loyalism, but also to aesthetic standards, such as her theory regarding the "heart of poetry." She vigorously seeks a variety of poetic models for women in Chinese literary history. Some models, such as the Classic of Poetry, the ancient-style poems, and the Han ballads, clearly align with the mainstream while others concern poetry by marginalized poets, such as women poets of previous dynasties and controversial male poets. Wang argues that women from the inner chambers were capable of not only producing good poems based on their "sincere feelings and everyday experience" (p.15), but also of transcending their designated roles in everyday life.

The second case study of Chapter One centers on the Qing woman writer Wang Ying's poetics in verse, a subgenre of classical Chinese poetry. Yang analyzes how Wang appropriated the theories and terminologies of three prominent early Qing poetic schools, "nature and inspiration" (xingling ...), "divine resonance" (shenyun ...) and "form and tone" (gediao ...), to illustrate her own poetics. The term "genuine natural dispositions" (zhen xing qing ...) is a key word for understanding Wang's theory. According to this notion, women poets, who have successfully acquired knowledge from Confucian classics, can compose good poems conveying the poets' sincere poetic expressions and strong moral messages. And women must internalize their advanced learning so that their poems can naturally deliver the right moral messages. Yang points out that "[p]oetics in verse became increasingly popular among women writers in the Qing period" (p.17). Yet she has not elaborated on this exciting trend to address the relevant issues: Which other women writers also wrote in this subgenre in late imperial China? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Women's Poetry and Poetics in Late Imperial China: A Dialogic Engagement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.