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Wojcik, Magdalena (2022) The Other Tang Women: Community, Voice and Poetry Represented in the Early Modern (16th–18th c.) Anthologies. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Traditionally, the vast majority of the Tang dynasty of women poets, called in this project the Other Poets, has been overlooked in the literary history, while the writings of the famous courtesan-poets Li Ye, Xue Tao and Yu Xuanji came to represent the entire corpus. During the early modern (16th-18th c.) printing boom, when women’s literature gained unprecedented momentum, scholars, editors and publishers discovered the Other Poets and incorporated them into literary history. This project explores how the early modern literary movements reflected in the anthologies of poetry reclaimed the Others’ corpus by analysing three aspects of communality. It discovered that deliberate editorial practices reflected in anthologies brought together nearly 300 Other Poets. In comparison, from the Tang until the sixteenth century, works of eighty-five Other Poets were in circulation. Furthermore, within the paratextual discourse of multifarious anthologies, three categorising principles that influenced the discovery of the Other Poets in the period were uncovered, which in turn unearthed their poetic expression. A poetic collective voice of the Other Poets and their engagements with the dominant literature exposed them as speaking subjects articulating meaningful and powerful agendas and desires outside the prescribed social, moral and familial roles. The Other Poets’ literary accomplishments challenge the hitherto prevailing view of the Tang women’s literature, thus represented mainly by the famous courtesans. The intersection of early modern literary, cultural and political trends brought the Other Poets’ works from the oblivion and invited a broader discussion of the origins of gendered self-awareness and self-determination in women’s literature of premodern China at large.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Ernest Caldwell
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2022 10:42

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