Recent studies on women's history in late imperial China have revealed much about the talented, beautiful, yet ill-fated women as "icons" for complicated sentiments of the male literati. This article calls attention to what has been left out of our knowledge of the creation of these "icons," namely, the efforts of a woman to negotiate her ways into the cultural memory of her time precisely by writing herself into an "icon." I argue that, in the case of the woman poet Jin Yi (1769-1794), writing a fatal disease into a myth about romantic passion served as her "self-iconizing" project. Above all, I argue that her conscious appropriation of the prevailing male discourses of her time to the best advantage of her self-creation may open an alternative way of looking at women's efforts of seeking a voice of their own.


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pp. 62-90
Launched on MUSE
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