Imperial Woman

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Imperial Woman
ImperialWoman.jpg
First edition
Author Pearl S. Buck
Country United States
Language English
Genre Historical novel
Publisher John Day
Publication date
1956
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN NA

Imperial Woman is a novel by Pearl S. Buck first published in 1956.

Imperial Woman is a fictionalized biography of Ci-xi (Tz'u Hsi in Wade–Giles), who was a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor and on his death became the de facto head of the Qing dynasty until her death in 1908 (before which the novel ends).

The story of Tzu Hsi is the story of the last Empress in China. In the novel Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck recreates the life of one of the most intriguing rulers during a time of intense turbulence.

Tzu Hsi was born into one of the lowly ranks of the Imperial dynasty. According to custom, she moved to the Forbidden City at the age of seventeen to become one of hundreds of concubines. But her singular beauty and powers of manipulation quickly moved her into the position of Second Consort.

Tzu Hsi was feared and hated by many in the court, but adored by the people. The Empress's rise to power (even during her husband's life) parallels the story of China's transition from the ancient to the modern way.