The History of Literature #263 Forgotten Women of Literature 2 – Cai Yan (Wenji)

Cai Yan (Wenji) (c. 178 – c. 250?) was the daughter of Cai Yong, one of the most famous scholars of the Han Dynasty. After being widowed at a young age, Cai Wenji was abducted by a nomadic tribe, where she was forced to marry a chieftain and bear his children. The tragedy of her life story, and the songs of lament that have been attributed to her, combine the art of noble suffering with the powerful precision of Chinese poetry at its finest. In this episode, Jacke continues the “Forgotten Women of Literature” theme with a look at the Chinese poet whose suffering blazes through the mists of time.

Help support the show at or (We appreciate it!) Find out more at, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to

New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke a coffee? Now you can at Your generosity is much appreciated!

The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s