Reverie and Reality

Reverie and Reality : Poetry on Travel by Late Imperial Chinese Women

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Reverie and Reality investigates late imperial Chinese gentry women's poems on travel ranging from the seventeenth century to the early twentieth century.These poems written by groups of women after they "stepped out of the inner quarters" display their diverse journeys, profound experiences of social life, and earnest sentiments. Their travel and poems on travel can be considered milestones in the histories of women's life and literature.

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  • Hardback | 206 pages
  • 149.86 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 430.91g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MDUnited States
  • English
  • 0739179837
  • 9780739179833

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Review quote

Reverie and Reality is a marvelous examination of Chinese women's poetry about travel, a neglected topic that Wang masterfully analyzes. Readers will enjoy the richness of the poetry translations and profit from the author's deep insights into the literary qualities of these poems. This highly readable scholarly study is an important contribution to understanding Chinese women's writing of the late imperial era. -- Harriet T. Zurndorfer, Leiden University Chinese women poets of the last few centuries of imperial China often complained that their social position (and their bound feet) limited their freedom to travel and broaden their experiences, reducing their poetry to rhymes on breeze and moon. Yanning Wang's wide-ranging monograph demonstrates that many women poets actually did have extensive travel experiences, some of them by visiting the scenic spots and temples around their hometowns, others by trekking through the length and breadth of China as they accompanied their male relatives to their official postings or escorted their bones back home for burial-in the last years of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) a few even started to travel beyond the Middle Kingdom. Many of the women poets who had no opportunity to travel widely indulged in "armchair travel" through China or visionary journeys through the realms of the immortals. This book is an important contribution to the scholarship on traditional Chinese women's poetry as it shows how women made use of the various chances offered to them and reflected on the landscapes and societies they encountered. -- Wilt L. Idema, Harvard University

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About Yanning Wang

Yanning Wang is assistant professor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at Florida State University.

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