foot binding aching beauty
【英文正版】Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China图片一 From Publishers WeeklyThe earliest mention of foot binding in Chinese history may date to the 21st century B.C., when the founder of the Xia dynasty was said to have married a "fox fairy with tiny feet." Practiced by royal women and their courtiers since approximately the 11th century A.D., foot binding was eventually taken up by commoners as well, with all classes striving to achieve three-inch "lotus feet." The "breaking process" began for girls between the ages of five and seven, "when their bones were still flexible" and they were "mature enough" to comprehend the importance of the practice. Novelist (Foreign Devil), short story writer (American Visa) and poet (Of Flesh and Spirit), Ping illustrates that the two-year rite of passage not only introduced young girls to pain (it involved breaking bones and "peeling... rotten flesh") but also initiated them into a "permanent bonding with [their] mother[s] and female ancestors," shaped in part by the difficulty of communicating pain through words. Ping, who has a Ph.D. in comparative literature, looks to language and literature in examining the deep cultural and power structures involved in this agonizing tradition. Referencing such heavy-hitting theorists as Derrida, Lacan and Foucault, Ping's prolific source notes also attest to an intriguing variety of sourcesAfrom Eve Ensler's hip and contemporary The Vagina Monologues to the remote Ming History of 1739. Although her language can be rather stiff and academic, Ping's spirited study should appeal to those intrigued by the mysterious link between violence and beauty. Photos. (Oct.)Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. From Library Journal This book describes the chilling and tragic history of beauty via footbinding in China that began around the 11th century, flourished in the Ming Dynasty, and was eclipsed in the Qing Dynasty in 1911. The author, whose impulse as a child in China was to bind her own feet, first wrote a doctoral dissertation at New York University on the subject of footbinding as represented in Chinese literature. Parts of this book are for the general reader interested in this subject, but substantial portions read like a doctoral dissertation and can only be appreciated by the literary scholar or women's studies specia list. The thesis of the book-that beauty in China is created through sheer violence-has great representation in China's historic erotic literature, including Li Yu's The Carnal Prayer Mat and Han Daguo's The Golden Lotus. The book is a stark contrast to Notable Women of China (LJ 5/1/00), which barely mentions footbinding, but complements The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History (LJ 2/15/99), which discusses footbinding as a symbol of a China overrun by economic and sexual extravagance. Recommended primarily for university libraries with specialized collections in Chinese literature and women's studies.Peggy Spitzer Christoff, Oak Park, ILCopyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Review ?Wang Ping writes with passion and an understanding strengthened by the female experience. This is a rich, necessary, and invaluable book.??Ha Jin, author of Waiting?Impeccable?. [A] house of Chinese wonders?. Wang takes on a giant storehouse of subject matter and glides through its labyrinthine corridors in fluid, often intuitive moves?. Fascinating.??San Francisco Bay Guardian?Eloquently and thoroughly documents a custom that for 1,000 years symbolized not only attractiveness, but gentility, virtue and high status?. [Wang Ping] peels back the layers of fear, desire and social climbing?like so many lotus petals.??Star Tribune (Minneapolis) -- Review Product Description When Wang Ping was nine years old, she secretly set about binding her feet with elastic bands. Footbinding had by then been outlawed in China, women's feet "liberated," but at that young age she desperately wanted the tiny feet her grandmother had–deformed and malodorous as they were. By first examining the root of her own girlhood desire, Wang unleashes a fascinating inquiry into a centuries-old custom.·Aching for Beauty combines Wang's unique perspective and remarkable literary gifts in an award-winning exploration of the history and culture surrounding footbinding. In setting out to demystify this reviled tradition, Wang probes an astonishing range of literary references, addresses the relationship between beauty and pain, and discusses the intense female bonds that footbinding fostered. Her comprehensive examination of the notions of hierarchy, femininity, and fetish bound up in the tradition places footbinding in its proper context in Chinese history and opens a window onto an intriguing culture.