Building the Marital Bond in Qing Dynasty China
IT IS WIDELY ASSUMED THAT LOVE and arranged marriage were incompatible. Personal writings of men and women from the Qing, however, show the assertion is deeply flawed. What was the role of love played in arranged marriage? How did husband and wife express their feelings in private and public? How did they forge relationship between them? How was that process shaped by gender values, cultural norms, and social and economic conditions under which they lived? How was love critiqued in moral discourses on marriage and represented in literary traditions? Centered on these questions, we will explore the rich sources married couples left behind about their own lives, including biographies, poems, and memoires, to discuss the ideas and practices of marriage and the process of building the marital bond in the context of the patriarchal family system.