Front cover image for Politics, Poetics, and Gender in Late Qing China : Xue Shaohui (1866-1911) and the Era of Reform

Politics, Poetics, and Gender in Late Qing China : Xue Shaohui (1866-1911) and the Era of Reform

Nanxiu Qian (Author)
This book examines the late Qing reforms from the perspective of the talented and prolific woman writer Xue Shaohui and the reform-minded members of her social and intellectual networks. It moves attention from the well-known male historical actors of 1898 to the long-obscured women reformers and their male collaborators, and broadens the conventional focus on the “Hundred Days” to cover a much longer time period, from China’s Self-Strengthening effort beginning in the 1860s to the New Policies of the early twentieth century, which included the constitutional movement. Probing these players’ participation in, and responses to, the important events of the day through reading their literary, journalistic, and translational works, this book offers a different, more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the reform era than any previous work. It shows in particular that late Qing women reformers were not merely passive objects of male concern, but rather active, optimistic, autonomous, and self-sufficient agents of reform. Drawing upon intellectual and spiritual resources from the freewheeling Wei-Jin (220-420) xianyuan (worthy ladies) model and the late imperial writing-women culture, and open to Western ideas and knowledge, they went beyond the inherited Confucian pattern in their quest for an ideal womanhood and an ideal social order. Demanding equal political and educational rights with men, women reformers challenged leading male reformers’ nationalistic approach of achieving “wealth and power” for China, championing instead to unite women of all nations in an effort to create a just and harmonious new world
Book, 2015-04-01
Stanford University Press, 2015-04-01
384 Pages
View item online Oxford Scholarship Online