Too Much Love can Kill You: Shen Fu’s The Old Man of the Moon

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Marital vows state:
“…to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to love and cherish, till death do us part….”

Between couples this is the promise, the expectation and the ideal. Our society celebrates couples who love each other through it all. We love it when we hear stories of couples who stood beside each other through the years and living up to the vows spoken on their wedding day. We think of this as the measure of marital bliss. In Shen Fu’s The Old Man of the Moon, however, he warns against this. Continue reading →

Coquettes in Literature: When Women Play the Game

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[ This particular post has been sitting on my computer unfinished since April. It took a while to sit down and write it all out. I’m hoping to post more than just once a month. I’m crossing my finger. ]

Upon reading the last sentence from Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, I found myself thinking back to Turgenev’s First Love. These two short novels have at its center a woman endowed not just with beauty but with charm that could not only turn heads, but make fools out of the most respectable of men.

There is skill in being a coquette and in grabbing a wealthy husband and while it baffles the reader as to how these men could not see past the coquette, one can only surmise the skill behind it. Yet, I ponder over the the motives behind the coquette? Is she a problem society must address or is she a creation of society? Continue reading →