Heroines of Jiangyong: Chinese Narrative Ballads in Women’s Script

Paperback | December 26, 2008

Translated byWilt L. Idema

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Heroines of Jiangyong is the first English translation of a set of verse narratives recorded in the unique women's script (nushu) of rural Jiangyong County, Hunan, in southern China. This selection of Chinese folk literature provides a rare window into the everyday life of rural daughters, wives, and mothers, as they transmit valuable lessons about surviving in a patriarchal society that is often harsh and unforgiving. Featuring strong female protagonists, the ballads deal with moral issues, dangers women face outside the family home, and the difficulties of childbirth.

The women's script, which represents units of sound in the local Chinese dialect, was discovered by scholars in the late twentieth century, creating a stir in China and abroad. This volume offers a full translation of all the longer ballads in women's script, providing an exceptional opportunity to observe which specific narratives appealed to rural women in traditional China. The translations are preceded by a brief introduction to women's script and its scholarship, and a discussion of each of the twelve selections.

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Heroines of Jiangyong is the first English translation of a set of verse narratives recorded in the unique women's script (nushu) of rural Jiangyong County, Hunan, in southern China. This selection of Chinese folk literature provides a rare window into the everyday life of rural daughters, wives, and mothers, as they transmit valuable...

Wilt L. Idema is professor of Chinese literature at Harvard University. He is the translator of Meng Jiangnu Brings Down the Great Wall: Ten Versions of a Chinese Legend and the author (with Beata Grant) of The Red Brush: Writing Women of Imperial China.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.45 inPublished:December 26, 2008Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295988428

ISBN - 13:9780295988429

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Women's Script

Part I: Moral Tracts1 Admonitions for My Daughter2 The Ten Months of Pregnancy3 The Family Heirloom4 The Lazy Wife

Part II. Narrative Ballads5 The Tale of Third Sister6 The Daughter of the Xiao Family7 Lady Luo8 The Maiden Meng Jiang9 The Flower Seller10 The Demonic Carp11 The Karmic Affinity of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai12 Fifth Daughter Wang

NotesChinese Character GlossaryBibliography

Editorial Reviews

Heroines of Jiangyong is the first English translation of a set of verse narratives recorded in the unique women's script (nushu) of rural Jiangyong County, Hunan, in southern China. This selection of Chinese folk literature provides a rare window into the everyday life of rural daughters, wives, and mothers, as they transmit valuable lessons about surviving in a patriarchal society that is often harsh and unforgiving. Featuring strong female protagonists, the ballads deal with moral issues, dangers women face outside the family home, and the difficulties of childbirth.The women's script, which represents units of sound in the local Chinese dialect, was discovered by scholars in the late twentieth century, creating a stir in China and abroad. This volume offers a full translation of all the longer ballads in women's script, providing an exceptional opportunity to observe which specific narratives appealed to rural women in traditional China. The translations are preceded by a brief introduction to women's script and its scholarship, and a discussion of each of the twelve selections.For the first time Western readers will be able to appreciate some of the most popular stories composed in Women's Script and survey the kind of stories and songs enjoyed by these village women. Thanks to the detailed notes provided, readers will understand the cultural context within which these texts were interpreted by the women of Jiangyong. The introduction succinctly summarizes the various theories concerning the origin of Women's Script material, and the uses and social function of Women's Script within Jiangyong... Heroines of Jiangyong will be favoured reading for all those with an interest in Chinese popular literature, Women's Script, Chinese oral and literate culture, folklore and gender studies. - The Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies, The Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies