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About This Book
Looking beyond the familiar trappings of the cult of female chastity—such as hagiographies of widows and chastity shrines--in late imperial China, this book explores the cult's political significance and practical ramifications in everyday life during the eighteenth century. In the first full-length study of the subject, Janet Theiss examines a vast number of laws, legal cases, regulations, and policies to illustrate the social and political processes through which female virtue was defined, enforced, and contested. Along the way, she provides rich details of social life and cultural practices among ordinary Chinese people through narratives of criminal cases of sexual assault, harassment, adultery, and domestic violence.