Two Years in the Forbidden City

Two Years in the Forbidden City For two years Princess Der Ling was the favorite lady in waiting to the Empress Dowager Cixi in the imperial palace in Beijing This book provides a unique and surprisingly intimate portrait of the Dr

  • Title: Two Years in the Forbidden City
  • Author: Der Ling Graham Earnshaw
  • ISBN: 9789881714992
  • Page: 410
  • Format: Paperback
  • For two years, Princess Der Ling was the favorite lady in waiting to the Empress Dowager Cixi in the imperial palace in Beijing This book provides a unique and surprisingly intimate portrait of the Dragon Lady, who ruled China for 47 years, and brought the country to the brink of destruction Der Ling refers to the larger political context on many occasions But the bestFor two years, Princess Der Ling was the favorite lady in waiting to the Empress Dowager Cixi in the imperial palace in Beijing This book provides a unique and surprisingly intimate portrait of the Dragon Lady, who ruled China for 47 years, and brought the country to the brink of destruction Der Ling refers to the larger political context on many occasions But the best parts of the book are the small details What emerges is an intimate portrait of the life and personality of the Empress Dowager, and a sense of the inner workings of the highly secretive world of the imperial palace.

    One thought on “Two Years in the Forbidden City”

    1. A fascinating record of a vanished world replete with details that are made even more poignant by its imminent passing: the elaborate meals, the hand-embroidered imperial gowns, the oft-flogged eunuchs who were both lackeys and powers behind the throne, the dizziness-inducing kowtows, formal court ceremonies that were contests of physical endurance, the sickly Emperor and his concubines, all which were soon to be rendered obsolete by the 1912 revolution. Der Ling's account of her two years as a [...]

    2. “Is there a king in England? I had thought that our Empress Dowager was Queen of the world.”So says one of the court ladies to the author.It’s a fun book, but through all the considerable effort of the author shines the plain fact that Cixi was horrible and terrifying to be around. The power of her whim was mitigated by nothing. The author had been lucky to be her favorite – that’s all; who knows how it might have ended up for her if this little episode in her life got stretched longer [...]

    3. A wonderful reading of this fascinating story. Princess Der Ling tells of two years of her life with the Dowager Empress. She became court interpreter, thanks to her education in France and England, and tried delicately to influence the Empress and to push her to make reforms.Often what was not said by Der Ling was just as important and interesting as what was said; Der Ling treads a delicate line between gossip and revelation with perfect diplomacy. I enjoyed this very much. librivox

    4. Der Ling is a controversal figure. She was a lady in waiting for the last Dowenger Empress of China before she left the service to marry an American. After her marriage, she capitalized on her "princess" title (there is some dispute over this; the title is an honorific only within the Imperial court) and touted her friendship with the Dowenger Empress and her "influence" on the Emperor.Taking all this into account, this "biography" reads more like a stuck-up 16 year old girl's diary than somethi [...]

    5. Author Der Ling, Princess, 1886-1944Title Two Years in the Forbidden CityLanguage EnglishLoC Class DS: History: General and Eastern Hemisphere: AsiaSubject Cixi, Empress dowager of China, 1835-1908 -- AnecdotesSubject Empresses -- China -- AnecdotesSubject China -- Court and courtiers -- AnecdotesEText-No. 889Release Date 1997-04-01THE author of the following narrative has peculiar qualifications for her task. She is a daughter of Lord Yu Keng, a member of the Manchu White Banner Corps, and one [...]

    6. The Dowager Empress Ci-Xi has proved to be a mysterious, yet infamous woman. Much has been written of her, portraying her as a ruthless & corrupt woman who had family members, including 2 emperors, her son & her nephew, murdered. However, in 1903, the western educated Lady Yu Derling, the daughter of the Chinese minister to Paris, as well as her mother, sister & brother begin serving in the dowager's court, with Derling filling the job as lady-in-waiting as well as intepreter, as she [...]

    7. Plot: C (If this was actually Der Ling's journal every interesting, political, controversial, and unflattering passage has been excised, leaving only bland descriptions of clothing, polite conversations, and pass-times.)Writing: D (The original author, Der Ling, had excellent English, French, and Mandarin. So this edition has either been edited from English or translated from Mandarin by an editor who has very poor English. This edition was also written with the understanding that someone in the [...]

    8. I loved this book. It is an intimate view into the life of Chinese noblewomen at a unique point in history. It was interesting and exciting to go through. While some points may be tedious to some readers, I found the attention to detail and minutia of court life to be fascinating. It was a highly pleasurable read that left me wanting to know more about both the time period and the authoress.

    9. The amazing story of a young Chinese girl raised in Paris then her account of two years living with the Princess Dowager. An awesome insight to court life in China. Having been to many of the places mentioned in the novel, it was really cool to imagine what they would've been like back when they were occupied. Just super interesting!

    10. **OBTAINED: FREE on Librivox**Two Years in the Forbidden City, by Princess Der Ling, was an interesting glimpse into the era and offered a unique first hand account of what life had been like in company of the Dowager Empress. Der Ling, who served as an interpreter, also gives insight into the Empress' life. Of course some of the information, such as elaborate details about food and clothing, made the text a bit dry, though I felt it was still worth the read (listen). It's FREE.[OFFICIAL RATING: [...]

    11. I can't say I am much of a fan of the memoir genre in general. It was interesting to read about life in the Chinese court at that time, but for the length of the book I would have hoped for more depth. I enjoyed when the empress told the author a bit about her life before she was the empress and how it was that she came to power, but this was only a brief portion.When chapter 2 ended with the sentence, "we. . . could hear the conversation between Her Majesty and the Ministers very plainly, and a [...]

    12. This is an insider's view into the royal court of the Dowager Empress of China Cixi from around 1903 to 1905. The book is filled with many mundane details of daily life, which actually composes the bulk of the book. Every detail of holidays and how they were celebrated at court is covered inexhaustibly. Yet there are a few moments of that are interesting from a historical perspective, but those are limited in scope. The Empress's view of the Boxer Rebellion is insightful as is learning more abou [...]

    13. It was an interesting book, although it won't win any literary prizes any time soon. It is beautiful in its very detailed portrayal of life at the Chinese court where old traditions and superstitions were just as strong in the 1900s as ever before. Having visited the places described in the book myself, I cannot help but relieve the whole experience through the eyes of the Empress Dowager whom I find both fascinating as well as frustrating and narrow-minded (blame it on her being caged in the Fo [...]

    14. Fascinating book that gives a first-hand account of Imperial life towards the end of the Chinese empire. Pre-dates the events in "The Last Emperor;" the Empress Dowager in this book selected Pu Yi as Emperor while she was on her deathbed.I see on that some of the author's statements are disputed. That's as may be. I didn't read anything that would give me cause to doubt what she put down in this book.In any case, highly recommended.

    15. The description was very detailed, it reminds me of the mother-daughter relationship described in the essay of the ETHNIC CANON. I think she was mean to the eunuchs and she seems to really like the empress dowager. She seemed to be mean to the girls that were jealous of her. she had the goal to change things but couldn't. I guess it's like the girl at DEVIL WEARS PRADA. I liked how she thought she made a difference. The story felt episodic. It could be an interesting cinematic production.

    16. I downloaded this from the UVA E-books site. This is a nifty look into a vanished world. The author spent two years as a court lady to the Empress Dowager, one of the last Chinese monarchs, around 1900. The depictions of rituals, culture, architecture, food, history, and dress will interest those with a historical bent. Generally, this was a relaxing, low key, interesting read.

    17. Fascinating inside look at life in the Chinese court at the turn of the 20th century. The author seemed very taken with the Empress Dowager. The woman was complex--selfish, very kind to Der Ling, but later had her nephew, the Emperor, poisoned. Easy to read.

    18. Free ebook from Gutenberg. Interesting historically and inciteful as to day to day court life. 1903 and 1904.

    19. the last empress of china is perceived and depicted by historians as a tyrant, but this memoir paints the 'dragon lady' in a different light

    20. A free LibriVox download.As historically important as anything written by Laura Ingalls Wilder or Willa Cather. A very interesting description of life at court at the end of the Manchu Dynasty.

    21. Some good first-hand information and stories on Empress Dowager Cixi. Very interesting to see the Qing Dynasty history through Eurasian's eyes.

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