“Personalized Writing” and Its Enthusiastic Critic: Women and Writing of the Chinese “Post-New Era”

Yi ZhengUniversity of Sydney
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring 2004), 45-64

This essay examines the 1990s in China, a time that saw an unprecedented wave of writing by women together with the arrival of feminist criticism in Chinese cultural institutions. According to these feminist critics, the works of women writers of the 1990s marked the emergence of a Chinese feminist/female creative tradition distinguished from earlier writers by the writers’ collective attempt to generate a feminist narrative separate from the dominant patriarchal tradition. This feminist narrative offers a radical representation centered on personalized writing and a stylistics of the body. The essay, however, moves beyond this critical categorization. The feminist aesthetics achieved through experimental narrative techniques, possibilities of point of view, and shifts in subject matter suggests that personalized writings, which began as self-willed marginalization and exile from the male cultural center, aimed at a revision of modem Chinese literary tradition. Radical personalized feminist writing thus forges an alternative aesthetics that is not only a feminist but also a historical post-socialist aesthetics.

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]