Almost inevitably," ascertains Professor Conn, "Pearl's mediations on gender, status, and authority led her back to the Empress Dowager, Tz'u-hsi, one of history's most powerful women, who had ruled over China throughout Pearl's first sixteen years" (Conn 338).
She had produced her first full-length play, entitled The Empress (1937), in which Tz'u-hsi (Cixi) was the main character.
As a novel, the plot centers on the love story of Tz'u-hsi and Jung Lu, which weaves historical facts, diplomatic treaties and political treatises with bedroom scenes.
Pearl probably felt a sense of symbolic affiliation with Tz'u-hsi, but she harbored no imperial delusions," apologetically comments Professor Conn (Conn 341).
Tz'u-hsi (1835-1908), Modern Asian Studies, 13, 2 (1979), pp177-196.
Seagrave, but Fang Chao-ying's biographical sketch of Tz'u-hsi (1835-1908) in this last-mentioned work does not even list Backhouse's works in its basic bibliography.
Because he needed Backhouse's pornographic fantasies about Tz'u-hsi to embellish yet again the legend of the last empress of China.
One can only wonder why Seagrave thought it necessary to expose his readers to the obscenities to be found in Backhouse's memoir of his imaginary love affair with Tz'u-hsi.
Seagrave never intended to write a traditional biography; he calls "Dragon Lady" an anti-biography and Tz'u-hsi a symbol of a lost era.