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Sandeberg, Maria af (2005) Gender in Chinese Literary Thought of the Republican Period. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033553

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Abstract

The thesis is about the relationship between gender and Chinese literary thought in the Republican period, focusing on the 1920s and early 1930s. It explores the ways in which gender was described as significant to literature in writings on literature such as literary theory, literary criticism, literary debates, and literary histories. It analyses how critics and literary historians related the gendered concepts "women's literature" (funu wenxue) and "women writers" (nuzuojia) to ideas of modernity and tradition, and to ideas of truth and authenticity in literature. Chapters One and Two establish that "women's literature" was often treated as separate or different from men's literature, and investigate the discourses which provided support for this position. Chapter One shows that traditional women's poetry, as well as feminism, formed important contexts for Republican period views on gender in literature. Chapter Two argues that scientific discourse also influenced views on gender and writing. Chapters Three to Five treat Republican period views on traditional women's literature. Chapters Three and Four describe how the introduction of the genre of literary history transformed the way earlier writings by women were conceptualised, and compare how different ways of applying modern theories to traditional women's literature resulted in different historical narratives of women's literary past. Chapter Five explores the relationship between gender and the concept of "truth" in literature, as it was applied to earlier writings by women. Chapters Six and Seven discuss uses of the concept "woman writer" applied to modern women writers. Chapter Six focuses on the debates surrounding the 1929 Zhenmeishan special issue on women writers and Chapter Seven analyses how women writers were received by socialist critics. This thesis highlights the complexity and heterogeneity of writings on women's literature and women writers. It shows that although critics sometimes interpreted women's literature in terms of a break with tradition, literary traditions continued to inform writings on gender and literature. Moreover, modern theories inspired a variety of sometimes conflicting perspectives on women and literature.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00033553
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 16:54
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/33553

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