The term “fiction’s family” as used in Professor Ellen Widmer’s new book has three referents: the family of the two late Qing novelists Zhan Xi 詹熙 (1850-1927) and Zhan Kai 詹塏 (1861?-1911?); the fictional Wei 魏 family in Zhan Xi’s novel, Hualiu shenqing zhuan 花柳深情傳 (Love among the courtesans) of 1897; and the “family” of genres that shaped Zhan Kai’s two reformist novels, Zhongguo xin nühao 中國新女豪 (China’s new heroines) and Nüzi quan 女子權 (Women’s power) of 1907. The three novels comprise the core material of this study, and the overall approach is a thorough contextualization: in terms of “viewing the parents’ work as background to the sons’ works, using each son’s non-reformist writings as a way of contextualizing his reformist works, and using Zhan Xi’s novel as one avenue toward understanding the fiction of Zhan Kai” (p. 15). The selection of this particular family is based on the fact that writings by and about them survive in a variety of sources and hence, can generate a “family portrait.” This family portrait, in turn, offers “a close-up of the changing literary landscape of the late Qing” (p. 5). A key concept underlying this study is the “business of women,” which has
NAN NÜ – Brill
Published: Aug 4, 2017
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