Introduction: Women and Feminism in the Literary History of Early Twentieth-Century China

  • Amy D. Dooling


This study undertakes a critical inquiry into the powerful connections between emergent feminist ideologies in China and the production of “modern” women’s writing in the period spanning the demise of the last imperial dynasty and the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. Proceeding through a series of primarily formal and historical analyses of literary examples drawn from a variety of narrative genres, I accentuate both well-known and under-represented literary voices who intervened in the heated gender debates of their generation and historically contextualize the formal strategies used in imagining alternative stories of female experience and potential. My analysis investigates two overarching questions: first of all, how the advent of enlightened views of gender relations and sexuality influenced the literary practices of the small elite of modern-educated “new women” who made their debuts in the cultural public sphere at the time, in terms not only of narrative content but also the narrative forms and strategies they deployed, the readership they sought to address, and the publication venues of which they availed themselves. Second, it analyses how, in turn, these representations themselves attest to the various ways in which early twentieth-century female literary intellectuals engaged and expanded contemporary social and political concerns by self-consciously writing women into stories of national salvation, social transformation, and revolution.


Chinese Woman Chinese Communist Party Literary Practice Feminist Issue Woman Writer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Amy D. Dooling 2005

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  • Amy D. Dooling

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