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Nü lunyu 女論語

The Four Categories of Literature
Nü lunyu 女論語 "The analects for girls" is a book on female conduct. It was written by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) female writer Song Ruoxin 宋若莘 in imitation of the Confucian Classic Lunyu 論語 "Confucian Analects". The Nü lunyu therefore also belongs to the so-called Nü sishu 女四書, the "Four Books for Girls", like the ("Male") Lunyu belongs to the Canon of the Four Books (sishu 四書). Similar to the Lunyu, the Nü lunyu is constructed in a question-and-answer style in which Song Ruoxin answers the questions of her daughters. The book was revised by her sister Song Ruozhao 宋若昭.
There are two versions of the book. One includes 10 chapters and a preface written by Song Ruoxin. The other version is that included in the Nü sishu. It has 12 chapters, the two additional parts written in four-syllable verses in a quite crude language.
According to the Nü lunyu, a wife must not only be inferior and subservient, but she has to be wise, intelligent and educated. The has to do female work and to manage the household. It is therefore necessary that, with such a great responsibility, a woman first has to establish herself in life and to become a real personality. She must be pure, sincere, trustful, quiet, discrete and honest.

立身 Lishen Establishing oneself
學作 Xuezuo Learning conduct
學禮 Xueli Learning etiquette
早起 Zaoqi Getting up early
事父母 Shi fumu Serving the partens
事舅姑 Shi jiugu Serving uncle and aunt
事夫 Shifu Serving the husband
訓男女 Xun nannü Instrucing men and women
營家 Yingjia Managing the household
待客 Daike Treating guests
守節 Shoujie Reservation and sparingness
和柔 Herou Harmony and weakness

Source: Ren Fang 任芳 (1995), "Nü lunyu 女論語", in Lu Leshan 盧樂山 (ed.), Zhongguo nüxing baike quanshu 中國女性百科全書, Hunyin jiating 婚姻家庭 (Shenyang: Dongbei daxue chubanshe), p. 72.

June 20, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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