The Female as Subject: Reading and Writing in Early Modern Japan

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Peter Francis Kornicki, Mara Patessio, G. G. Rowley
Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2010 - Books and reading - 279 pages
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The Female as Subject reveals the rich and lively world of literate women in Japan from 1600 through the early twentieth century. Eleven essays by an international group of scholars from Europe, Japan, and North America examine what women of different social classes read, what books were produced specifically for women, and the genres in which women themselves chose to write. The authors explore the different types of education women obtained and the levels of literacy they achieved, and they uncover women's participation in the production of books, magazines, and speeches. The resulting depiction of women as readers and writers is also enhanced by thirty black-and-white illustrations. For too long, women have been largely absent from accounts of cultural production in early modern Japan. By foregrounding women, the essays in this book enable us to rethink what we know about Japanese society during these centuries. The result is a new history of women as readers, writers, and culturally active agents. The Female as Subject is essential reading for all students and teachers of Japan during the Edo and Meiji periods. It also provides valuable comparative data for scholars of the history of literacy and the book in East Asia.

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About the author (2010)

Kornicki is reader in Japanese history and bibliography, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Cambridge, and fellow of the British Academy.

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