Woman and Her Affinity to Literature

Defining Women Writers’ Roles in China’s Cultural Modernity
  • Megan M. Ferry


In 1934, Chinese essayist Huiqun declared “without women there would be no literature.”1 Her pronouncement joined other voices countering the male-dominated literary sphere, which defined Chinese culture until the twentieth century and which sought women’s vindication. Her statement reveals Chinese women’s contested relationship with literature at the beginning of the twentieth century. Some people argued that women lacked the ability to write anything that contributed to the literary field because they wrote from an emotional and subjective standpoint. Women, they argued, were better suited for biological rather than literary production.2 Conversely, other people admired women’s appreciation of beauty and meticulosity. Although such traits enhanced the quality of women’s embroidery, they were better employed in more useful ways, such as in painting, music, and literature. These people required modern women to get an education so that they could enhance their talents and, ultimately, make a living from the arts.3 In general, despite much press dedicated to defining women’s relationship with literature, Chinese women writers’ role in creating a modern China was far from certain.


Chinese Woman Literary Production Chinese Literature Woman Writer Chinese Intellectual 
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© Charles A. Laughlin 2005

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  • Megan M. Ferry

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