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Title: Leaving the Boudoir; Returning Home
Subtitle: Wang Zhenyi's Travel, Travel Writing and Identity in the Inner Sphere
Author(s): YUAN, Xing
Journal: Journal Asiatique
Volume: 310    Issue: 1   Date: 2022   
Pages: 95-107
DOI: 10.2143/JA.310.1.3290952

Abstract :
This article explores the paradox of Wang Zhenyi’s 'leaving the boudoir' and 'returning home' by studying her personal experience of travel, travel writing, and views on such topics as women’s virtue, learning and responsibility. On the one hand, Wang traveled extensively, and her travel writing, with all of its related folklore value, contributes fresh elements to women’s literature. On the other hand, however, she insisted on the feminine virtue that fixes women’s identity in the inner sphere. Therefore, after marriage, she voluntarily undertook her role as a competent wife and daughter-in-law at home. She also advocated that through learning women would cultivate their virtue and then should take on the responsibility of upholding morality. Perhaps, to some extent, her travels are a trespass against the spatial boundary between the inner and the outer. Yet, from another perspective, her arguments on women’s virtue and identity emphasize their proper role in the inner sphere, and reinforce the division between genders.

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