Cover of Personal Matters by Lingzhen Wang
Personal Matters
Women’s Autobiographical Practice in Twentieth-Century China
Lingzhen Wang


296 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804750059


Excerpts and More

This book offers an interdisciplinary approach to women’s autobiographical writing in twentieth-century China. The author applies feminist insights to works by such well-known authors as Qiu Jin, Bing Xin, Ding Ling, and Wang Anyi and to works by other, lesser-known writers. Throughout, these writings are analyzed in relation to the discourses of modernity—nationalism, revolution, socialism, and market commodification—that have dominated modern China.

The book emphasizes aspects of women’s experience, especially their subjective, emotional, psychic, and bodily activities, that tend to be dismissed in mainstream discourses and orthodox studies of history and literature. The result is a new understanding of how women have negotiated their lives through autobiographical writing and struggled to carve out a place of their own in modern China. In turn, this study generates new insights into the gendered version of modern history, writing, and self.

About the author

Lingzhen Wang is Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at Brown University.

"Meticulously researched, carefully structured, and lucidly versed, Wang's interpretation goes against and beyond a poststructuralist current among literary critics and offers a fresh, gendered avenue to discern history, self, and writing in modern China."