Presence and Presentation: Women in the Chinese Literati Tradition

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St. Martin's Press, 1999 - History - 307 pages
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"Presence and Presentation" is the first volume of essays to focus on the lives of Chinese women before the 10th century. An impressive array of scholars examines historical, religious, and literary texts of medieval China (mainly from the 3rd to the 10th centuries) and discovers topics which are surprisingly modern. A princess dies of a miscarriage as a result of marital violence, marriages are made to form political alliances, and an imperial consort is blamed for natural disasters. Other essays reveal the precarious lives of female entertainers and palace-serving women, wifely procuring for famous husbands, self-mutilation in the name of cultural virtues, and a mother's journey deeper into hell for her son's ability to achieve Buddhahood. The essayists scrutinize mostly male-crafted documents but from the perspectives of the women who lived during this time. "Presence and Presentation" is a pathbreaking analysis that opens new windows on how many Chinese women lived during the days of the Middle Ages.

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About the author (1999)

Mou, a native of Taiwan, is Assistant Professor of Chinese at Wellesley College.

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