Room Where I Was Born
Brian Teare University of Wisconsin Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3620.E427R66 2003 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
An architecture equally poetry, fairy-tale, autobiography, and fiction, The Room Where I Was Born rebuilds the house of the lyric from fragments salvaged from experience and literature. Though the poems are borne out of the intersection of violence and sexuality, they also affirm the tenderness and compassion necessary to give consciousness and identity sufficient meaning. Its language the threshold over which the brutal crosses into the beautiful, this collection is an achievement of courage and vision.
In the period between the 1920s and 1940s, a genre emerged in Chinese literature that would reveal crucial contradictions in Chinese culture that still exist today. At a time of intense political conflict, Chinese women began to write autobiography, a genre that focused on personal identity and self-exploration rather than the national, collective identity that the country was championing.
When “I” Was Born: Women’s Autobiography in Modern China reclaims the voices of these particular writers, voices that have been misinterpreted and overlooked for decades. Tracing women writers as they move from autobiographical fiction, often self-revelatory and personal, to explicit autobiographies that focused on women’s roles in public life, Jing M. Wang reveals the factors that propelled this literary movement, the roles that liberal translators and their renditions of Western life stories played, and the way in which these women writers redefined writing and gender in the stories they told. But Wang reveals another story as well: the evolving history and identity of women in modern Chinese society. When “I” Was Born adds to a growing body of important work in Chinese history and culture, women’s studies, and autobiography in a global context.
Writers discussed include Xie Bingying, Zhang Ailing, Yu Yinzi, Fei Pu, Lu Meiyen, Feng Heyi, Ye Qian, Bai Wei, Shi Wen, Fan Xiulin, Su Xuelin, and Lu Yin.