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Author McMahon, Keith

Title Misers, shrews, and polygamists : sexuality and male-female relations in eighteenth-century Chinese fiction / Keith McMahon
Published Durham : Duke University Press, 1995


Description 1 online resource (xi, 378 pages) : illustrations
Contents Potent polygamists and chaste monogamists -- Polygamy according to fiction and prescriptive models -- Shrews and jealousy in seventeenth and eighteenth-century vernacular fiction -- The self-containing man: the miser and ascetic -- The chaste "beauty-scholar" romance and the superiority of the talented woman -- The erotic scholar-beauty romance -- A case for Confucian sexuality: chaste polygamy in Yesou Puyan -- Polygyny, crossing of gender, and the superiority of women in Honglou Meng -- The overly virtuous wife and the wastrel polygamist in Lin Lan Xiang -- The spoiled son and the doting mother in Qilu Deng -- The other scholar and beauty: the wastrel and the prostitute in Lüye Xianzong -- The benevolent polygamist and the domestication of sexual pleasure in Shenlou Zhi -- Ernü Yingxiong Zhuan as antidote to Honglou Meng -- Promiscuous polygyny and male self-critique -- Glossary of Chinese characters
Summary Having multiple wives was one of the mainstays of male privilege during the Ming and Qing dynasties of late imperial China. Based on a comprehensive reading of eighteenth-century Chinese novels and a theoretical approach grounded in poststructuralist, psychoanalytic, and feminist criticism, Misers, Shrews, and Polygamists examines how such privilege functions in these novels and provides the first full account of literary representations of sexuality and gender in pre-modern China. In many examples of rare erotic fiction, and in other works as well-known as Dream of the Red Chamber, Keith McMahon identifies a sexual economy defined by the figures of the "miser" and the "shrew"--Caricatures of the retentive, self-containing man and the overflowing, male-enervating woman. Among these and other characters, the author explores the issues surrounding the practice of polygamy, the logic of its overvaluation of masculinity, and the nature of sexuality generally in Chinese society. How does the man with many wives manage and justify his sexual authority? Why and how might he escape or limit this presumed authority, sometimes to the point of portraying himself as abject before the shrewish woman? How do women accommodate or coddle the man, or else oppose, undermine, or remold him? And in what sense does the man place himself lower than the spiritually and morally superior woman?The most extensive English-language study of Chinese literature from the eighteenth century, this examination of polygamy will interest not only students of Chinese history, culture, and literature but also all those concerned with histories of gender and sexuality
Analysis Chinese fiction Special subjects Sexuality
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 327-340) and index
Notes Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. MiAaHDL
Print version record
digitized 2010 HathiTrust Digital Library committed to preserve pda MiAaHDL
Subject Sex customs -- China
Man-woman relationships -- China
Sex in literature.
Sexual Behavior -- history
Literature, Modern -- chinese
Literature, Modern -- history
POLITICAL SCIENCE -- Public Policy -- Cultural Policy.
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Anthropology -- Cultural.
SOCIAL SCIENCE -- Popular Culture.
PSYCHOLOGY -- Human Sexuality.
Man-woman relationships
Sex customs
Sex in literature
Form Electronic book
ISBN 9780822397298