Articulating the (Dis)Enchantment of Colonial Modernity: Mei Niang’s Representation of the Predicament of Chinese New Women

Xiaoping Wang, Huaqiao University
Vol. 34, No. 2 (Fall 2015), 333-353

The most famous writer in the Japanese-dominated puppet-state of Manchukuo, Mei Niang (1920-2013) nevertheless has rarely received attention in the English world. This paper delves into her works to explore the historical context for the May Fourth New Woman project with which Mei was persistently engaged and the intellectual and political dilemma in which she was entrapped. It finds that in her fictional world, there is a double pitfall for Manchurian women. Aside from the conservative Japanese ideal of a woman as a “good wife, wise mother,” the modern idea of a “freewilled” woman was also a trap, for there was little opportunity to realize this bourgeois dream in the colonized state. However, when Mei broadened her horizon and connected her feminist concern with the subaltern, a more comprehensive picture unfolded, and a more poignant critique of colonial society presented itself.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]