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1. Wu, Dong. Aspects of Gender in The Unofficial History of the Scholars.

Degree: Philosophische Fakultät (Histor., philolog., Kultur- und geograph. Wissensch.), 2021, Universität Würzburg

The present study focuses on Rulin waishi 儒林外史 (The Unofficial History of the Scholars), a well-known Qing novel, from the perspective of gender. It attempts to contribute to the discussion about Chinese masculinity by identifying the representation of the scholars' masculinity in Rulin waishi and offer a better understanding of the novel's position regarding femininity and women. This project shows that the novel nevertheless reflects rather than challenges gender ideologies of its time. The ideal manhood showed in the novel comprises real virtues and authentic learning. It goes against the traditional, orthodox Confucian masculinity which advocates that officialdom is the glorious path to fulfill a learned man's masculinity. It is mainly due to Wu Jingzi's own failure in the civil service examinations and official careers. Regarding the relation of masculinity and sexuality, the novel reveals that a masculine man is not tempted by female charm but can enjoy a harmonious and companionate marriage. Besides, scholars show great anxiety about their masculinity since they are in a marginal position in society. Their manliness is challenged by officials, merchants, and even commoners, as well as their colleagues. Through a careful examination of stories of Pinniang, Miss Lu, and Mrs. Wang, it reveals that the novel holds a conventional opinion on women although it criticizes widow suicide and shows an egalitarian husband-wife relationship. It praises Confucian womanly virtues, such as following and serving the husband, managing the household, and keeping chastity. Female sexuality is blamed as an evil temptation to lead men to go astray. Women’s learning gains legitimacy when serving to fulfill domestic responsibilities. It carries the Confucian message that men should take the lead and maintain order in the household and reinforces the rightful patriarchy. In a word, rather than go ahead of its time, Rulin waishi holds a conservative attitude towards gender issues.

Die vorliegende Studie konzentriert sich auf Rulin waishi (Die inoffizielle Geschichte der Gelehrten), einen bekannten Qing-Roman aus der Perspektive des Geschlechts. Es versucht, zur Diskussion über die chinesische Männlichkeit beizutragen, indem es die Repräsentation der Männlichkeit der Gelehrten in Rulin waishi identifiziert und ein besseres Verständnis der Position des Romans in Bezug auf Weiblichkeit und Frauen bietet. Dieses Projekt zeigt, dass der Roman die Geschlechterideologien seiner Zeit widerspiegelt und nicht in Frage stellt. Die im Roman gezeigte ideale Männlichkeit umfasst echte Tugenden und authentisches Lernen. Es widerspricht der traditionellen, orthodoxen konfuzianischen Männlichkeit, die befürwortet, dass das Amt der herrliche Weg ist, um die Männlichkeit eines gelehrten Mannes zu erfüllen. Dies ist hauptsächlich auf Wu Jingzis eigenes Versagen bei den Prüfungen im öffentlichen Dienst und bei offiziellen Karrieren zurückzuführen. In Bezug auf das Verhältnis von Männlichkeit und Sexualität zeigt der Roman, dass ein…

Advisors/Committee Members: Altenburger, Roland (referee).

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APA (6th Edition):

Wu, D. (2021). Aspects of Gender in The Unofficial History of the Scholars. (Masters Thesis). Universität Würzburg. Retrieved from; 10.25972/OPUS-21920

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Wu, Dong. “Aspects of Gender in The Unofficial History of the Scholars.” 2021. Masters Thesis, Universität Würzburg. Accessed March 01, 2021.; 10.25972/OPUS-21920.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Wu, Dong. “Aspects of Gender in The Unofficial History of the Scholars.” 2021. Web. 01 Mar 2021.


Wu D. Aspects of Gender in The Unofficial History of the Scholars. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. Universität Würzburg; 2021. [cited 2021 Mar 01]. Available from:; 10.25972/OPUS-21920.

Council of Science Editors:

Wu D. Aspects of Gender in The Unofficial History of the Scholars. [Masters Thesis]. Universität Würzburg; 2021. Available from:; 10.25972/OPUS-21920