The Dragon Empress: Life and Times of Tz'u-hsi 1835-1908 Empress Dowager of China

Author:   Marina Warner
Publisher:   Vintage Publishing
ISBN:  

9780099165910


Pages:   272
Publication Date:   15 July 1993
Format:   Paperback
Availability:   Out of stock   Availability explained
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The Dragon Empress: Life and Times of Tz'u-hsi 1835-1908 Empress Dowager of China


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Overview

From 1861 to 1908 a woman - the Empress Dowager Tz'u-hsi, born the daughter of a minor mandarin - held the supreme power in China. Opportunist, ruthless, malicious, she ruled over 400 million people. This biography explores her complex personality - her extreme conventionalism, her hatred of foreigners , her passion for power and intrigue, her vanity and her delight in ritual, her extravagance and corruption, and her love of gardens, painting and the theatre. The book also portrays a China in rapid decline, as poverty, civil war and foreign exploitation and invasion brought about the fall of the Ch'ing dynasty. Since this, her first book, was first published in 1972, the author has written novels and other non-fiction works on images of women, iconography and art. They include Joan of Arc: the Image of Female Heroism , Alone of All Her Sex: the Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary , The Lost Father (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize) and Indigo .

Full Product Details

Author:   Marina Warner
Publisher:   Vintage Publishing
Imprint:   Vintage
Dimensions:   Width: 12.90cm , Height: 1.60cm , Length: 19.80cm
Weight:   0.193kg
ISBN:  

9780099165910


ISBN 10:   0099165910
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   15 July 1993
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General ,  Tertiary & Higher Education
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Out of stock   Availability explained
The supplier is temporarily out of stock of this item. It will be ordered for you on backorder and shipped when it becomes available.

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Reviews

Warner published this book in 1972 and it was her first biography, although she had written other works of fiction. Its subject - a wicked woman in power - intrigued 1970s readers who were searching for models of female authority. Reprinted in 1993 by Vintage, it rejoins the tradition that was picked up by Chinese writers such as Jung Chang in the book Wild Swans. In a foreword, Warner criticizes a later 'revisionist' biography which depicts Tzu'u-Hsi as 'a nice, dull thing who knows nothing of scheming'. Her own Empress is malicious, vain, corrupt and extreme, rising from humble beginnings as the daughter of a mediocre official in Peking up to the highest office in the land, where she ruled over 400 people. Warner tells the story of her subjects's elite Manchu heritage and childhood, and a turnaround in fortune which came when both Tz'u-Hsi and her sister were plucked from obscurity to become concubines in the new young emperor's harem. The storytelling is detailed and stylish, vividly bringing a distany dynasty to life. (Kirkus UK)


Author Information

Marina Warner was born in London of an Italian mother and an English father. Her history and criticism has focused mainly on female symbolism - Alone of All Her Sex: the Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary; Joan of Arc: the Image of Female Heroism; Monuments and Maidens: the Allegory of the Female Form - and is currently finishing a study of fairytale, called From The Beast to The Blonde. She has also written novels. The Lost Father was a Regional Winner of the Commonwealth Writer's Prize and winner of the Macmillan Silver P.E.N Award. She has recently published The Mermaids in the Basement her first collection of short stories. She lives in London with her husband, the artist John Dewe Mathews, and one son.

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