Negotiating Masculinities in Late Imperial China

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University of Hawaii Press, 2006 - Social Science - 284 pages
Why did traditional Chinese literati so often identify themselves with women in their writing? What can this tell us about how they viewed themselves as men and how they understood masculinity? How did their attitudes in turn shape the martial heroes and other masculine models they constructed? Martin Huang attempts to answer these questions in this valuable work on manhood in late imperial China. He focuses on the ambivalent and often paradoxical role played by women and the feminine in the intricate negotiating process of male gender identity in late imperial cultural discourses. Two common strategies for constructing and negotiating masculinity were adopted in many of the works examined here. The first, what Huang calls the strategy of analogy, constructs masculinity in close association with the feminine; the second, the strategy of differentiation, defines it in sharp contrast to the feminine. In both cases women bear the burden as the defining "other." In this study, "feminine" is a rather broad concept denoting a wide range of gender phenomena associated with women, from the politically and socially destabilizing to the exemplary wives and daughters celebrated in Confucian chastity discourse.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
ENGENDERING THE LOYAL MINISTER
11
From True Man to Castrato Early Models and Later Ramifications
13
From Faithful Wife to Whore The MinisterConcubine Complex in Ming Politics
33
The Case of Xu Wei A Frustrated Hero or a Weeping Widow?
53
Manhood and Nationhood Chaste Women and the Fall of the Ming Dynasty
72
HEROES AND OTHER COMPETING MODELS
87
From Yingxiong to Haohan Models of Masculinity in Sanguo yanyi and Shuihu zhuan
89
Romantic Heroes in Yesou puyan and Sanfen meng quanzhuan
155
WHAT A MAN OUGHT TO BE
183
Ideals and Fears in Prescriptive Literature
185
Masculinity and Modernity
200
Notes
205
Glossary
251
Bibliography
261
Index
279

Reconstructing Haohan in Three Novels from the SuiTang Romance Cycle
113
Effeminacy Femininity and MaleMale Passions
135

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About the author (2006)

Martin W. Huang is professor of Chinese at the University of California, Irvine.

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