Yu Xuanji

Married at 16, sent away at 19, became a courtesan and a plaything, then a Daoist nun, and a poet, executed at 28, allegedly for strangling her maidservant, but perhaps for her frankly honest poetry. This is Yu Xuanji, late Tang poet (魚玄機, Yú Xuánjī, c840–c868), who left behind a book of poetry that was lost, and is remembered thanks to poets of the Song dynasty who gathered up what remained.

Yu Xuanji, original image from McGill Digital Archives

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