In the years immediately following Mao Zedongâs death, ï¬ction writers in the Peopleâs 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 Xianliangâs The Other Half of Man Is Woman [Nanren de yiban shi nÃ¼ren] (1985) and Wang Anyiâs three novellas about âillicit loveâ [san lian] (1985 â 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 proï¬t.2 The most scandalous, best-selling erotic publication in China in the early 1990s was probably Jia Pingwaâs Abandoned Capital [Fei du], whose traditional vernacular style and numerous sex scenes â often insinuated by deliberate marks of omission â made critics liken
GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies – Duke University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2002
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