Monday, October 27, 2008
More on Ci Xi Anniversary - Some Reading
A few people have asked me after my post on the impending anniversary of Dragon Empress Ci Xi’s death, if nobody seems to have done a new biography what about the old ones?
So here’s a few:
The Ones I wouldn’t Bother With:
Pearl S. Buck's novel Imperial Woman chronicles the life of the Empress Dowager from the time of her selection as a concubine until near to her death.
The novels Empress Orchid (2004) and The Last Empress (2007), by Anchee Min portray a romanticized life of Empress Dowager Cixi from a first-person perspective.
Slightly More Useful:
Marina Warner's The Dragon Empress: Life and Times of Tz'u-hsi 1835-1908 from 1972.
Dragon Lady: The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China by Sterling Seagrave from 1992
The Who Knows What’s Going on But Fun Anyway:
China Under the Empress Dowager (1910), the supposed “inside account” of late from the Hermit of Peking Edmund Backhouse, written by the excellent JOP Bland
The Last Empress - Daniele Vare (1938) – the urbane and suave former Italain Minister to Italy threw in his two pennyworth and it’s a fun read.
The Wouldn’t Miss it for the World:
A young and nubile sex crazed Ci xi features in George McDonald Fraser's novel, Flashman and the Dragon (1985).
Of course for those who prefer movies there’s always Flora Robson as Ci Xi Olooking a bit miffed above) in 55 Days in Peking with David Niven as that over-rated old idiot Sir Claude Macdonald!!