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Abstract

Jin Feng, in her paper "The New Woman in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction," proposes that the representation of the "new woman" in Chinese fiction was paradoxically one of the ways in which male writers of the era explored, negotiated, and laid claim to their own emerging identity as "modern" intellectuals. Previous scholarship on fiction of the period probed occasionally the thematic implications of female characters in specific works but has not engaged in systematic study of the "new woman" as a figure through a discussion of the politics of the narrative form. Feng addresses aspects of audience in early-twentieth-century Chinese fiction with regard to the emphasis on the simplistic, gender-neutral representation of the new women and by an analysis of the evolving strategies of narrative deployment. For scholars working in the area of feminism and literary studies, Feng develops a new method of studying the representation of Chinese women through an interrogation of narrative permutations, ideological discourses, and gender relationships and for studies of modernity and modernization, Feng presents a more complex picture of the relationships of modern Chinese intellectuals to their cultural past and of women writers to a literary tradition dominated by men.

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