AT THE JUNCTURE OF CENSURE AND MASS VOYEURISM: Narratives of Female Homoerotic Desire in Post-Mao China

AT THE JUNCTURE OF CENSURE AND MASS VOYEURISM: Narratives of Female Homoerotic Desire in Post-Mao... In the years immediately following Mao Zedong’s death, fiction writers in the People’s Republic of China consistently pushed the limits of sexual representation. The liberation of desire was considered a project integral to the restoration of subjectivity to individuals, a topic that dominated Chinese intellectual discussions in the mid-1980s.1 In this cultural milieu many works rescuing human desire from sexual puritanism, state repression, the institution of marriage, and the pragmatism of procreation appeared in the 1980s, such as Zhang Xianliang’s The Other Half of Man Is Woman [Nanren de yiban shi nüren] (1985) and Wang Anyi’s three novellas about “illicit love” [san lian] (1985 – 86). The literary trend of exploring sexuality has continued into the 1990s and the new century, an era whose cultural economy differs dramatically from that of the mid-1980s, in that elite ideologies such as aesthetic humanism have lost their luster and cultural production is now complicated by market competition for audience and profit.2 The most scandalous, best-selling erotic publication in China in the early 1990s was probably Jia Pingwa’s Abandoned Capital [Fei du], whose traditional vernacular style and numerous sex scenes — often insinuated by deliberate marks of omission — made critics liken http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies Duke University Press

AT THE JUNCTURE OF CENSURE AND MASS VOYEURISM: Narratives of Female Homoerotic Desire in Post-Mao China

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Publisher
GL/QCML
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1064-2684
eISSN
1527-9375
D.O.I.
10.1215/10642684-8-4-523
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the years immediately following Mao Zedong’s death, fiction writers in the People’s Republic of China consistently pushed the limits of sexual representation. The liberation of desire was considered a project integral to the restoration of subjectivity to individuals, a topic that dominated Chinese intellectual discussions in the mid-1980s.1 In this cultural milieu many works rescuing human desire from sexual puritanism, state repression, the institution of marriage, and the pragmatism of procreation appeared in the 1980s, such as Zhang Xianliang’s The Other Half of Man Is Woman [Nanren de yiban shi nüren] (1985) and Wang Anyi’s three novellas about “illicit love” [san lian] (1985 – 86). The literary trend of exploring sexuality has continued into the 1990s and the new century, an era whose cultural economy differs dramatically from that of the mid-1980s, in that elite ideologies such as aesthetic humanism have lost their luster and cultural production is now complicated by market competition for audience and profit.2 The most scandalous, best-selling erotic publication in China in the early 1990s was probably Jia Pingwa’s Abandoned Capital [Fei du], whose traditional vernacular style and numerous sex scenes — often insinuated by deliberate marks of omission — made critics liken

Journal

GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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