New Woman in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction

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01/25/2011
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07/30/2004
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About this title

Purdue University Press
2004
Professional & Scholarly
5

Description

Jin Feng proposes that representation of the "new woman" in Communist Chinese fiction of the earlier twentieth century was paradoxically one of the ways in which male writers of the era explored, negotiated, and laid claim to their own emerging identity as "modern" intellectuals. Previous scholarship on fiction of the period occasionally probed the thematic implications of female characters in specific works but has not engaged in systematic study of the "new woman" as a figure through a discussion of the politics of the narrative form. Feng addresses both the general and the specialized audience of fiction in early-twentieth-century Chinese fiction in three ways: for scholars of the May Fourth period, Feng redresses the emphasis on the simplistic, gender-neutral representation of the new women by re-reading selected texts in the light of marginalized discourse and by an analysis of the evolving strategies of narrative deployment; for those working in the area of feminism and literary studies, Feng develops a new method of studying the representation of Chinese women through an interrogation of narrative permutations, ideological discourses, and gender relationships; and for studies of modernity and modernization, the author presents a more complex picture of the relationships of modern Chinese intellectuals to their cultural past and of women writers to a literary tradition dominated by men.