Reviews

Reviews reviews 305 © Brill, Leiden, 2000 NAN NÜ 2.2 REVIEWS Lisa Raphals. Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China . Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1998. xxiii+348 pp. US $14.95 paper. ISBN 0-7914-3856-2. Raphals’s book presents a thematic analysis of the Lienü zhuan , a compendium of exemplary life stories of women ascribed to the Han scholar Liu Xiang (ca. 79 - 8 BCE). The core concerns of the first part of the book are to “counter the familiar image of Chinese women as eternally oppressed, powerless, passive, and silent” (p. 1) by analyzing early Chinese narratives which present women as “agents of specifically intellectual, political, and ethical virtue” (p. 4). Thus Raphals highlights the discourse on intellectual skill and ethi- cal virtue associated with women in Warring States and Han texts. She coins the term “intellectual virtue stories” for such narratives, stories in which “a high degree of understanding, knowledge, or other specifically intellectual skill wisdom defines the skill of the heroine or the motivation for her action” (p. 23). The first three chapters are a descriptive survey of these narratives organized around two main thematic representations: first, women as http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png NAN NÜ Brill

Reviews

NAN NÜ , Volume 2 (2): 305 – Jan 1, 2000

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2000 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1387-6805
eISSN
1568-5268
D.O.I.
10.1163/156852600750072277
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

reviews 305 © Brill, Leiden, 2000 NAN NÜ 2.2 REVIEWS Lisa Raphals. Sharing the Light: Representations of Women and Virtue in Early China . Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1998. xxiii+348 pp. US $14.95 paper. ISBN 0-7914-3856-2. Raphals’s book presents a thematic analysis of the Lienü zhuan , a compendium of exemplary life stories of women ascribed to the Han scholar Liu Xiang (ca. 79 - 8 BCE). The core concerns of the first part of the book are to “counter the familiar image of Chinese women as eternally oppressed, powerless, passive, and silent” (p. 1) by analyzing early Chinese narratives which present women as “agents of specifically intellectual, political, and ethical virtue” (p. 4). Thus Raphals highlights the discourse on intellectual skill and ethi- cal virtue associated with women in Warring States and Han texts. She coins the term “intellectual virtue stories” for such narratives, stories in which “a high degree of understanding, knowledge, or other specifically intellectual skill wisdom defines the skill of the heroine or the motivation for her action” (p. 23). The first three chapters are a descriptive survey of these narratives organized around two main thematic representations: first, women as

Journal

NAN NÜBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2000

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