Gentlemen's Prescriptions for Women's Lives: A Thousand Years of Biographies of Chinese Women
As far back as the first century BCE, Chinese dynastic historians - all men - began recording the achievements of Chinese women and creating a structure of understanding that would be used to limit and control them. To men, these women became role models for their daughters and wives; to the few literate women readers, they became paradigms for their own behavior. Thus, although these biographies are descriptive by nature, they actually became prescriptive. Gentlemen's Prescriptions for Women's Lives is an enlightening source for studying Chinese women of the Imperial era as well as for understanding Chinese womanhood in general. By contextualizing these biographies, the author shows us these women not just as the complaisant, calm-eyed, delicate figures that adorn Confucian texts, but also as the products of the Confucian tradition's appropriation of women.
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Admonitions for Women Ban Gu Ban Zhao's behavior Bei shi biogra Biographies of Women CD CD chap chapter chaste chastity Chen Chinese clan Classic Classic of Poetry classic of rites Confucian Confucian tradition Daoism death Dong Duke dynastic histories emperor empresses eulogy exemplary Fan Ye father Feng filial daughter gender historians Hou Han shu husband imperial introduction Jiang Jin shu Jiu Tang killed king later Liang Lienu Liezhuan Liji literary Liu Xiang's Lienii loyalty marriage married moral mother mother-in-law mutilation names obedience official histories paradigms parents parents-in-law political principles remarry righteousness role ruler Sanguo zhi sexuality Sima Qian social Song sons Spring and Autumn Sui dynasty Tang dynasty tion Wang Wei shu widow wife wives woman womanly virtues Women's Biographies women's lives Xian Xiang's Lienii zhuan xiao Xin Tang shu Yuan Zhao Zhou