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Flowers in the Mirror (Chinese-English)

  • flowers inf the mirror
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Product Description

Library of Chinese Classics: Flowers in the Mirror
Author: Li Ruzhen (ca. 1763-ca. 1830)
Translated into English by Lin Taiyi
Library binding book, vol. I, II, dimensions 960 x 640, 1/16
Publisher: Yi Lin Chu Ban She, 2005
ISBN: 7806577955 978806577950

Li Ruzhen (1763-1830) was born in Hebei province. He declined to conform to the bagu essay form and never went beyond the county examinations. He worked on his novel Flowers in the Mirror for fifteen years, completing it in 1827.

This novel tells the story of a Daoist fairy named Fairy of the Hundred Flowers that has fallen from grace and tries to gain back her immortality. Li Ruzhen, himself failing to attain a higher examination degree, uses allegories to describe the caption of a human being between appearance and reality, the temporal and the eternal. This background gives the whole novel a touch of fantasy, fleeing from reality like the banished fairy that travels to strange countries. Coming back to China, she encounters the Tang empress Wu Zetian and passes examination to be reunited with her earthly father. The describing of a woman's dynasty makes this very personal novel looking like an attack on the social conditions in traditional China, like a kind of feminist pamphlet. But looking more exactly at the end of the story, the fantasy of a woman realm has to cede to the reinstalling of the Confucian tradition. Braking out of his own society, the worldly unsuccessful author has to come back to reality.

The Flowers in the Mirror was a literary tour-de-force of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). This fantasy novel is filled with transparent allegories that promote Daoist ideas, folklore, and rights for women. Historically it is not accurate in that no exams for women were ever held during the reign of Empress Wu or in any other up to that time. Yet this imaginative story offers many spiritual principles in an entertaining genre. The folly of foot-binding and treating concubines as sex objects become especially apparent when the sex roles are reversed. As more women in China were learning how to read, write, and paint, this novel expresses the growing trend toward the emancipation of women especially by means of education.

This book is both funny and informative. More so, it is great fun to read and think about, the author uses the funniest language to describe the many countries, though it is a fantastic description of the view the author held of his world, the China of the 18th and19th century.


包装:精装 开本:小16开 全二卷 页数:928




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