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Disgraceful MattersThe Politics of Chastity in Eighteenth-Century China$
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Janet Theiss

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240339

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240339.001.0001

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Prologue: A Righteous Husband Plays the Politics of the Wifely Way

Prologue: A Righteous Husband Plays the Politics of the Wifely Way

(p.56) (p.57) Prologue: A Righteous Husband Plays the Politics of the Wifely Way
Disgraceful Matters

Janet M. Theiss

University of California Press

In 1768, an aspiring literatus named Chen Shiwan of Jintan County, Jiangsu, stabbed his wife, Gao Shi, to death and was sentenced perfunctorily to strangulation after the assizes. At the heart of the marital conflict was Shiwan's claim that Gao Shi had abrogated the most sacred duty encompassed in the “wifely way” (fudao) by refusing to pay proper respects to his parents and continually fighting with them. The case elucidates the workings of family and local politics surrounding a woman's alleged violation of gender norms.

Keywords:   wifely way, fuado, Chen Shiwan, Gao Shi, marital conflict, gender norms

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