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Title: Homoerotic Sensibilities in Late Imperial China
Contributor(s): Wu, C  (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: In the late 1980s, when I was preparing an MA thesis on love stories from the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, I discovered more than I was prepared to find. Most of the love stories I read were highly conventional and thoroughly moralistic in their construction. As I was interested in the role of neo-Confucian thought in tales of love the presence of moral formulas was something I had more or less expected; however, to my surprise, I also found that there were numerous episodes of homoerotic love interwoven with, or placed side by side with stories of heterosexual love. Furthermore, the homoerotic tales were structured in much the same way as tales of love between young men and women: chastity, devotion and beauty were celebrated, and lust, venality and coarseness were condemned. Inevitably, love stories concentrated on the young, and in late imperial literature devoted love between young men was as noble as love between young men and women.I was then confronted with two questions. First, I wondered why no one working in Chinese literature had drawn any attention to the tradition of male-love (nanse, nanfeng), and why I had not come across this tradition in my undergraduate classes in Chinese literature. Second, I wondered how much more there was to know, and what place male-love might have had in the cultural history of the last centuries of the Chinese empire, and earlier periods as well.
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: RoutledgeCurzon
Place of Publication: Oxon
ISBN: 0415334748
Field of Research (FOR): 200517 Literature in Chinese
HERDC Category Description: A1 Authored Book - Scholarly
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Extent of Pages: 232
Series Name: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) East Asia Series
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