2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

The Story of Xiaoshan: A Review Article of Recent Works on He Shuangqing

Wan-yao Chou

Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica

This article reviews recent works on He Shuangqing賀雙卿and proposes some possible approaches toward this subject-matter. I first discuss Shi Zhenlin史震林—the author of Xiqing sanji西青散記(Random Records of West-Green), the background in which he wrote these notes, and the nature of the book. Xiqing sanji is where (He) Shuangqing first appears and it is the only known source on her existence. Thanks to the enchanting beauty of her story and her poems (mainly in the ciform), in due process Shuangqing broke away from Shi’s book, assuming a life of her own. She has become renown as a Chinese poetess from the peasant class.

Riding on the new wave of women studies, He Shuangqing lately attracted the attention of scholars again, as she once did in the post-May Fourth era. Some interesting works about her have appeared in recent years, which either analyze Shuangqing’s works in the light of new literary theories and/or look at her life from feminist perspectives. Most of the authors avoid the question of whether Shuangqing was a real person or a fictional one. A scholar did endeavor to prove Shuangqing’s actuality, but her arguments are disputable. As a matter of fact, the mystery of Shuangqing is rooted in the way she is introduced to the world by Xiqing sanji, which is not a question one can legitimately shun. On the contrary, we shall go back to the origin of the mystery—Xiqing sanji, as well as to the author and his circle of friends. I believe that a solid understanding of Shi Zhenlin and the esthetics and mentality of his circle will help locate Shuangqing in a world thus far little known to us.


Key Words: Shuangqing, He Shuangqing, Shi Zhenlin, Xiqing sanji, Chinese women history, ci poetess