Heroines of Jiangyong: Chinese Narrative Ballads in Women's Script (Paperback)
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Short Description for Heroines of Jiangyong Presents a glimpse into Chinese folk literature through translated verses secretly written by the oppressed village women of Hunan, who bravely scribed their stories, in their own words.
- Published: 04 March 2009
- Format: Paperback 192 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780295988429 ISBN 10: 0295988428
- Sales rank: 1,264,630
Full description for Heroines of Jiangyong
"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. Among samples of Chinese women's literature, writings in women's script are rare in their presentation of peasant women speaking their own mind, in their own words, unmediated by modern intellectuals, whether native Party cadres or foreign anthropologists.This women's script, in which each transcribed sign stands for a distinctive unit of sound in the local Chinese dialect, was discovered by scholars in the late twentieth century and its discovery created quite a stir in China and abroad. Only a handful of renditions have so far been published in Western languages. This volume offers a full translation of all the longer ballads in women's script, providing an exceptional opportunity for us to observe which specific narratives appealed to rural women in traditional China. All feature a strong female protagonist and deal with moral issues of grave concern to women: the importance of diligence and thrift; fidelity to one's husband in poverty and during his absence, and chase loyalty to him after his death; the dangers women face outside of the family home; and, the difficulties of childbirth.These translations are based on editions of nushu texts by contemporary Chinese scholars, who have transcribed the ballads in standard Chinese characters. The translations are preceded by a brief introduction to women's script and its scholarship, and a discussion of each of the twelve selections. 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".