Home > Catalogue > Annali di Ca’ Foscari. Serie orientale > 56 | 2020 > Wreckage, War, Woman. Fragments of a Female Self in Zhang Ailing’s Love In a Fallen City (倾城之恋)

Wreckage, War, Woman. Fragments of a Female Self in Zhang Ailing’s Love In a Fallen City (倾城之恋)

Alessandra Di Muzio    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



This article examines wreckage and war as key elements in Zhang Ailing’s novella Qing cheng zhi lian 倾城之恋 (Love in a Fallen City) exploring the strategies used by the female protagonist to engage on a nüxing 女性 ‘feminist’-oriented spatial quest for independence in a male-centered world. Analysed from a feminist perspective, these strategies emerge as potentially empowering and based on the idea of conflict/conquest while dealing with man and romance, but they are also constantly threatened by the instability of history and by the lack of any true agency and gender-specific space for women in the 1940s Chinese society and culture. By analysing the floating/stability dichotomy and the spatial configurations of Shanghai and Hong Kong as described in the novella, the author argues Zhang Ailing’s depiction of Chinese women while dealing with history, society and the quest for self-affirmation is left in-between wreckage and survival, oppression and feminism, revealing her eccentric otherness as a woman and as a writer with respect to socially committed literature.

June 30, 2020
May 29, 2020
Feb. 6, 2020

Keywords: Feminist spatial questWarWreckageLove in a Fallen CityZhang Ailing

Copyright: © 2020 Alessandra Di Muzio. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.