Gender, Genre, and Discourse The Woman Avenger in Medieval Chinese Texts

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Manling Luo



This paper examines representations of the woman avenger in three types of medieval Chinese writings, namely, official biographies, Music Bureau poetry, and unofficial prose accounts. Such cross-genre comparisons shed light on how different narrative conventions or the lack thereof shaped the ways in which the potentially controversial stories of female vengeance were recounted. Unofficial prose accounts from the Tang period (618–907), in particular, demonstrate the development of a distinctive discourse on women and sanctioned violence that opened up fertile grounds for exploring the gender tensions and ambiguities of the subject.

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