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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Beyond Exemplar Tales: Women's Biography in Chinese History


“Clear, coherent, richly documented, and highly persuasive. I know of no other source devoted exclusively to the topic of Chinese women’s biographies, and I am confident that this book will have a ready audience in the China field and beyond.” Paul Ropp, Clark University

“In addition to Liu Xiang’s Lienü zhuan, the Urtext of Chinese women’s biography, this rich trove of essays explores previously unexamined biographical genres and mines literary texts for their biographical potential. It will be of great value to scholars interested in women’s history, life-writing, and biography, both in the China field and in comparative contexts.” Grace S. Fong, McGill University

This volume develops new strategies for reading, contextualizing, and interpreting the long Chinese tradition of women’s biography. Drawing upon a vast array of sources—from formal biography to poetry, letters, and oral interviews—the authors examine how women’s biography served particular cultural, political, and world-making projects, and how it illuminates these projects in new ways by highlighting tensions within and between them.

Joan Judge is a professor of history and humanities at York University. Hu Ying is a professor of East Asian languages and literatures at the University of California, Irvine.

Contributors: Beverly Bossler, Katherine Carlitz, Patricia Ebrey, Hu Ying, Gail Hershatter, Wilt L. Idema, Joan Judge, Weijing Lu, Susan Mann, Nanxiu Qian, Ann Waltner, Ellen Widmer, Ping Yao, Yu Chien-ming, Harriet T. Zurndorfer

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