The Life & Times of Princess Der Ling with author
Grant Menzies

Photo: The future Princess Der Ling, with the Empress Dowager Cixi, winter 1903, with eunuch Tsui Yu-Kuei holding an umbrella.

A memoirist, ranconteur, and a European-educated, multi-lingual Asian woman who gleefully crossed all the lines of cultural expectations both oriental and occidental, Princess Der Ling was a unique character on the stage of late Qing and early Republican China. A favorite lady-in-waiting to the Empress Dowager Cixi, Der Ling became that hated woman's greatest apologist and defender. After moving to the United States in the late 1920's, she sought, through her seven books, numerous articles and lectures, to foster a better understanding of China and Chinese history. Though she died virtually forgotten in 1948 in Berkeley, California, her entertaining and insightful writings still have much to teach about China's past and its future.

Menzies will discuss Der Ling's fantastical life in China and abroad. Several rare books from his collection of Western and Asian memoirs of the court of Cixi, including a few of Der Ling's own books, will be displayed along with photographs of Der Ling, Cixi and images of the Summer Palace and Forbidden City.

Grant Menzies, a freelance arts and classical music critic for Willamette Week, has written for The Oregonian, the Eugene Register-Guard, Sforzando, and numerous journals in the U.S. and abroad. He recently completed a biography of Russian émigré memoirist Olga Ilyin and is currently writing a biography of Princess Der Ling.


Tuesday, Oct. 21, 7-8:30pm


NW China Council, Kida Bldg. 127 NW 3rd Ave.


Free for NWCC members; $5 non-members


Space limited; call 503-973-5451

 close this window

print this announcement