Chapter 01 Chapter 05 Chapter 09 Chapter 13
Chapter 02 Chapter 06 Chapter 10 Chapter 14
Chapter 03 Chapter 07 Chapter 11 Chapter 15
Chapter 04 Chapter 08 Chapter 12 Chapter 16

Part 01: Early Models for Later Ages

Chapter 01: Women On and Behind the Throne

Poets, Teachers, Moralists

Poets of the Inner Palace: Zuo Fen, Han Lanying, and Bao Linhui Teachers of Men: Fu Sheng's Daughter and Wei Cheng's Mother Moralists: The Song Sisters and Lady Zheng

Shangguan Wan'er: Ghostwriter for Two Empresses

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Chapter 02: Neglected Palace Ladies and Other Phantoms

Slandered Virtue: Concubine Ban

Fact and Fiction: Phantom Poems and Phantom Lives

Reduced to a Human Pig: Lady Qi A Disputed Beauty: Empress Zhen Banished Beyond the Border: Liu Xijun and Wang Zhaojun Displaced by a Rival: Concubine Plum

Other Phantoms

The Eloping Widow: Zhuo Wenjun Abducted and Ransomed: Cai Yan Palindromes: Su Hui Back to top

Chapter 03: Ladies, Nuns, and Courtesans
Brilliant Daughters and Dutiful Wives

The Poet of a Single Poem: Xu Shu The Poet of a Single Line: Xie Daoyun Poet and Editorial Advisor: Lady Chen Different Voices: Liu Lingxian

Buddhist Nuns and Daoist Mystics

Buddhist Nuns Powerful Abbesses Revealed Sutras Poems by Nuns Daoist Mystics Princess and Peasant Girl: Yuzhen and Wang Fajin

Self-Censoring Ladies and Public Women

Self-Censoring Ladies Burned Manuscripts Multiple Personalities
  • "Wang Fazhi, a girl from Tonglu"
  • Conversations in Dreams Public Women Poet and Traitor: Li Ye Courtesan and Collator: Xue Tao Concubine, Daoist Nun, and Murderer: Yu Xuanji Back to top

    Part Two: Between New Possibilities and New Limitations

    Chapter 04: Li Qingzhao
    Li Qingzhao's Life

    Li Qingzhao's Poetry

    The Rise of the Ci Lady Wei's Lyrics Li Qingzhao's Lyrics Li Qingzhao's Ci-criticism Li Qingzhao and Her Critics Li Qingzhao's Poems Back to top

    Chapter 05: Talent and Fate
    An Unhappy Marriage: Zhu Shuzhen

    Doomed Love: Zhang Yuniang

    A Wifely Poetics: Zheng Yunduan

    Guan Daoshen and Huang E

    Artist and Artist's Wife: Guan Daosheng An Exile's Wife: Huang E Back to top

    Chapter 06: Empresses, Nuns and Actresses
    Empresses and Palace Ladies

    Lady Huarui and Her Palace Songs Empress Yang and More Palace Songs Xiao Guanyin and Her Sorry Fate Empress Xu and the Bodhisattva Guanyin


    Chan Buddhism and Women Miaodao, Miaozong, and Other Female Disciples of Chan Master Dahui Zonggao Other Writing Nuns

    Courtesans and Actresses

    Courtesan, Poet, and Philosopher: Wen Wan Smartass Wang and the Romance of Su Xiaoqing Back to top

    Part Three: The First High Tide of Women's Literature

    Chapter 07: Courtesans
    Liang Xiaoyu and the Tale of Huang Chonggu

    Jing Pianpian and Ma Xiaolan

    Wang Wei and Yang Wan

    Liu Shi

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    Chapter 08: Matrons and Maidens
    Shen Yixiu and Her Daughters

    Shen Yixiu Ye Xiaoluan Ye Wanwan Huichou

    Gu Ruopu and Liang Mengzhao

    Gu Ruopu Liang Mengzhao Back to top

    Chapter 09: Women Writers of the Conquest Period
    Shang Jinglan and Xu Can

    A Loyalist's Widow: Shang Jinglan Exiled to Manchuria: Xu Can

    Wang Duanshu and Huang Yuanjie

    Ming Loyalist: Wang Duanshu Painter, Calligrapher, and Poet: Huang Yuanjie

    Writing Nuns

    Teacher and Convent-Builder: Yikui Chaochen Pilgrimage and Poetry: Jizong Xingche Back to top

    Chapter 10: The Banana Garden Poetry Club
    Chai Jingyi

    Gu Zhiqiong

    Chai Jingyi

    Feng Xian

    Qian Fenglun

    Lin Yining

    Gu Si

    Zhu Rouze

    Zhang Hao

    Mao Ti

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    Interlude:Ideal and Reality
    Chapter 11: Ideal
    Du Liniang and Her Female Commentators

  • "In the last month of the winter"
  • Long Suffering Concubines Xiaoqing Skinny Mares Poems on Walls

    Lyrics on Flower Petals: Shuangqing

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    Chapter 12: Reality
    In a Script of Their Own
    Formalized Friendship

    Getting Married

    Autobiographical Ballads

    The Sorrows of Pregnancy and Motherhood

    How to Escape the Female Condition

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    Part Four: The Second High Tide of Women's Literature

    Chapter 13: Poetry
    Poetry and Piety

    Tao Shan Jiang Zhu

    Disciples of Yuan Mei

    Xi Peilan Luo Qilan

    Poetry, Scholarship, and Vernacular Prose Fiction

    Wang Duan Gu Chun (Taiqing)

    Women and Warfare

    Zhang Chaixin Zhang Yin Li Chengxia Back to top

    Chapter 14: Drama
    Wang Yun and He Peizhu

    Wu Zao

    Liu Qingyun

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    Chapter 15: Plucking Rhymes
    A Rain of Heavenly Flowers

    Text and Performance: Zhu Suxian

    Karmic Bonds of Reincarnation: Chen Duansheng and Hou Zhi

    Other Plucking Rhymes

    More Cross-Dressing Heroines Loyalty and Patriotism Back to top

    Epilogue: Nationalism and Feminism: Qiu Jin
    Chapter 16: The Beheaded Feminist: Qiu Jin
    Poet and Nationalist

    Student and Feminist

    Teacher and Revolutionary

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