Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: December 8, 2018 - Last updated: July 1, 2023


Speaker: Paola Zamperini

Title: Untamed Hearts

Subtitle: Eros and Suicide in Late Imperial Chinese Fiction

Conference: Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies (March 9-12, 2000)

Session: Session 27: Passionate Women: Male Discourses on Female Suicide in Late Imperial China

Place: San Diego, California, United States

Date: March 2000

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 17th Century | Asian History: Chinese History | Cases: Fictional Victims / Guizhen; Victims: Reactions / Suicide; Representations: Literary Texts / Dong Lu Luoluo pingsheng


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Speaker: Paola Zamperini, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, Northwestern University -, ResearchGate

Abstract: »Traditional Chinese fiction abounds with images of chaste and virtuous women willing to become martyrs and forfeit their lives for the sake of their husbands, fiancées, parents, and children. But just as many are the women who are willing to kill themselves because they have been scorned or avenge themselves of the wrong they have suffered at the hands of a worthless scoundrel. In other words, there are fictional heroines who can use suicide as a vehicle to convey to eternity, as it were, the strength of their passions, from love to hatred, from jealousy to thirst for revenge.
The present paper is an exploration of late imperial literary representations which depict women's suicide as an act of passion and self-assertion: this act, rather than being constructed as defeat in the face of adversities, a response to abuse suffered, or as a last resort to preserve chastity, is presented as a path of independence that shows these female characters not as virtuous martyrs or victims of an unjust patriarchal system but as passionate agents of free-will. These sources challenge the assumption that women's suicide in late imperial fictional sources is primarily related to chastity. In this sense, they are useful to understand the complex ways in which legal and moral mandates around the issue of women's suicide could be resisted, absorbed, and ignored in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Chinese vernacular fiction.« (Source: Association for Asian Studies)

- Zamperini, Paola. »Untamed Hearts: Eros and Suicide in Late Imperial Chinese Fiction.« Nan Nü. 3 (2001): 77-104. - Bibliographic Entry: Info

- Zamperini, Paola. »Untamed Hearts: Eros and Suicide in Late Imperial Chinese Fiction.« Passionate Women: Female Suicide in Late Imperial China. Edited by Paul S. Ropp et al. Leiden 2001: 77-104. - Bibliographic Entry: Info

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of China / Ming dynasty | Literature: Rape in fiction / Chinese literature | Sex and the law: Rape / Rape in China | Suicide: Suicide in China