Poetry as Power: Yuan Mei's Female Disciple Qu Bingyun (1767-1810)
This book focuses on a prominent female poet of eighteenth century China, Qu Bingyun. Qu was a leader of a famous group of female poets known as the Female Disciples of Yuan Mei. This book explores the development of Qu as a poet and examines her unique poetry with special attention to her dynamic interaction with her contemporaries. It concludes that Qu, driven by her instinct as a woman and the nature of writing as a social process, constantly sought connections with others to form literary networks. It was during the course of this interaction with others that Qu's poetic career blossomed. This book demonstrates how Qu, a fragile woman, used her awesome poetic power to simplify the complex family interactions and endeared herself to those close to her; how she became widely admired in her region and beyond; how she transformed her illness and mundane everyday life into aesthetic creations; and how she created close ties to all the people around her. This book also shows that Qu's poetry powerfully exposed a gentrywoman's domesticity to the world in every detail. Qu's intensity extended into her entire literary network, creating patterns that were rarely seen before and since. Honoring the female experience as the source of autonomous art, Qu was a revolutionary of women's literature and became a prominent representative of female writers who broadened Chinese poetry in many ways.