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Testimony of a Confucian Woman: The Autobiography of Mrs. NIE Zeng Jifen, 1852-1942

Testimony of a Confucian Woman: The Autobiography of Mrs. NIE Zeng Jifen, 1852-1942

by Kennedy, Thomas L. Kennedy (Editor), Micki Kennedy (Editor)

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This memoir by a Chinese matriarch recalls how, as both the daughter and widow of powerful industrialists--military and government officials of the old empire--she ``steered the careers'' of her husband and sons. Translated, edited and heavily annotated by researcher and genealogist Micki Kennedy and Washington State University history professor Thomas Kennedy, the book provides invaluable cultural and historical background information. From the fall of the Manchu's Qing dynasty through numerous wars and the rise of Communism, Mrs. Nie's strong Confucian values, buttressed by her ``new Christian faith'' and adaptability to change, helped her to survive during a long widowhood and to maintain bewilderingly extended family relations. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Written in the style of a chronological biography ( nien-p'u ), this work is the life story of the daughter of the famous Chinese statesman and military leader Zeng Guofan (Tseng Kuo-fan), written in 1931 when she was 80 years old. In the unadorned style characteristic of the genre, Nie's narrative intertwines her view of life from the inside of a prominent Chinese family with the panorama of modern Chinese history from before the Taiping Rebellion through the year of its writing. She predicts what her later years will be like, which are further described in an epilog by her son-in-law. The short autobiography is supplemented by copious notes, a cultural and historical introduction, and related biographies, as well as the epilog, a foreword by her grandaughter, and a glossary. This account will provide historians who do not read Chinese with an introduction to this distinctive Chinese form of historical writing.-- D.E. Perushek, Univ. of Tennessee Libs., Knoxville

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University of Georgia Press
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