The quest for gentility has shaped Chinese civilization and the formation of culture in China until the present day. This book analyzes social aspirations and cultural practices in China from 1550 to 1999, showing how the notion of gentility has evolved and retained its relevance in China from late imperial times until the modern day. Gentility denotes the way of the gentleman and gentlewoman. The concept of gentility transcends the categories of gender and class and provides important new insights into the ways Chinese men and women lived their lives, perceived their world and constructed their cultural environment. In contrast to analyses of the elite, perceptions of gentility relate to ideals, ambitions, desires, social capital, cultural sophistication, literary refinement, aesthetic appreciation, moral behaviour, femininity and gentlemanly elegance, rather than to actual status or power. Twelve international leading scholars present multi-disciplinary approaches to explore the images, artefacts and transmission of gentility across the centuries in historical and literary situations, popular and high culture, private and official documents, poetry clubs, garden culture and aesthetic guidebooks. This volume changes the ways we look at Chinese cultural history, literature, women and gender issues and offers new perspectives on Chinese sources.
Daria Berg is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham. She has published extensively on Ming/Qing and post-Mao Chinese cultural history and literature, including Carnival in China: A Reading of the Xingshi yinyuan zhuan (2002). She recently edited Reading China: Fiction, History and the Dynamics of Discourse. Essays in Honour of Professor Glen Dudbridge (2007).
Chloe Starr is a Departmental Lecturer in Classical Chinese at the University of Oxford. She works on text and narrative: her most recent publication is Red-light Novels of the Late Qing (2007) and she is currently editing a volume on Chinese biblical hermeneutics.
Release date Australia
May 12th, 2009
Edited by Chloe Starr
Edited by Daria Berg
Country of Publication
13 Halftones, black and white; 2 Tables, black and white; 13 Illustrations, black and white