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Exemplary Women of Early China - The Lienü zhuan of Liu Xiang (Anglais) Broché – 7 mars 2014


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In early China, was it correct for a woman to disobey her father, contradict her husband, or shape the public policy of a son who ruled over a dynasty or state? According to the Lien zhuan, or Categorized Biographies of Women, it was not only appropriate but necessary for women to step in with wise counsel when fathers, husbands, or rulers strayed from the path of virtue. Compiled toward the end of the Former Han dynasty (202 BCE-9 CE) by Liu Xiang (79-8 BCE), the Lien zhuan is the earliest extant book in the Chinese tradition solely devoted to the education of women. Far from providing a unified vision of women's roles, the text promotes a diverse and sometimes contradictory range of practices. At one extreme are exemplars resorting to suicide and self-mutilation as a means to preserve chastity and ritual orthodoxy. At the other are bold and outspoken women whose rhetorical mastery helps correct erring rulers, sons, and husbands. The text provides a fascinating overview of the representation of women's roles in early legends, formal speeches on statecraft, and highly fictionalized historical accounts during this foundational period of Chinese history. Over time, the biographies of women became a regular feature of dynastic and local histories and a vehicle for expressing and transmitting concerns about women's social, political, and domestic roles. The Lien zhuan is also rich in information about the daily life, rituals, and domestic concerns of early China. Inspired by its accounts, artists across the millennia have depicted its stories on screens, paintings, lacquer ware, murals, and stone relief sculpture, extending its reach to literate and illiterate audiences alike.

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6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95bc4120) étoiles sur 5 Women in Ancient China 19 avril 2014
Par E. N. Anderson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This is a fantastic job. The translation is very readable (I don't have the original by me to check for accuracy but it seems extremely good). The introduction is a really superior job of putting the book in context. This is a must-read for anyone interested in China or in the status of women in early societies. The stories often reflect incredible courage in the face of a society not only very sexist by modern standards, but pretty blood-drenched by any standards, including its own. The book causes me to speculate at great length, but, being a nonexpert in this field, I will spare the reader and confine myself to recommending the book.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x95bc5fd8) étoiles sur 5 Moral Education 1 avril 2015
Par John S. Major - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
For more than 2,000 years the Lienü zhuan (“Categorized Biographies of Women”) played a central role in the education of young women, teaching them the norms of behavior that Confucian society demanded of them. They learned to be modest and self-effacing, yielding gracefully to their fathers, brothers, and husbands and avoiding anything that would bring discredit to their families. They learned that death was preferable to dishonor, and that suicide was an honorable way out of situations that offered only bad moral choices. Young women, generation after generation, learned to emulate the conspicuous virtues of the exemplary women depicted in these pages, and to shrink in horror from (though perhaps they were secretly fascinated by) the counter-examples of “bad” women, like the sexually voracious serial widow Lady Xia Ji. Anne Kinney’s graceful and faithful translation of this important text is both instructive and entertaining; these biographies make wonderful stories. Her extensive introduction places the work in context; her voluminous notes enhance the biographies but do not get in their way. This is an indispensible guide to the position of women in imperial China, and a fascinating read.
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