The story of the faithful maiden constitutes a rich case for historical inquiry into young women's lives and subjectivity, and the history and culture that their actions shaped. Some of faithful maidens framed their choices in terms of the grave responsibility of upholding social morality, and others, in personal terms of honor-bound duty. The faithful maiden cult was a social phenomenon produced and primarily driven by young women, but it was by no means of young women's sole making. It is shown that at times of political crisis, putting faithful maidens in the national spotlight constituted an important political experience for the literati. In the new age of the twentieth century, idealism, morality, and emotion were all given new meanings, and many young women devoted their lives to reform or to revolutionary causes.
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