Wanton Women in Late-Imperial Chinese Literature

Models, Genres, Subversions and Traditions


Editors: Mark Stevenson and Cuncun Wu
The contributors to Wanton Women in Late-Imperial Chinese Literature: Models, Genres, Subversions and Traditions draw attention to ‘wanton woman’ themes across time as they were portrayed in court history (McMahon), fiction (Stevenson), drama (Lam, Wu), and songs and ballads (Ôki, Epstein, McLaren). Looking back, the essays challenge us with views of sexual transgression that are more heterogeneous than modern popular focus on Pan Jinlian would suggest. Central among the many insights to be found is that despite gender performance in Chinese history being overwhelmingly determined by the needs of patriarchal authority, men and women in the late imperial period discovered diverse ways in which to reflect on how men constantly sought their own bearings in reference to women.

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Biographical Note
Mark Stevenson, Ph.D. (2000, University of Melbourne) is an Honorary Fellow at Victoria University, Melbourne, and currently teaches Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His publications on sexuality in Chinese history include Homoeroticism in Imperial China (Routledge, 2013).

Wu Cuncun, Ph.D. (2002, University of Melbourne) is Associate Professor in Chinese Literature, University of Hong Kong. Her most recent book is Drama Beyond the Drama: The Private Apartment System and Beijing Theatre Culture, 1790-1911 (HKU Press, forthcoming, in Chinese).
Review Quotes
"...the book as a whole offers important new insights into the way traditional Chinese women were controlled."
Ellen Widmer, Wellesley College ( NAN NÜ, 20:2)
Table of contents
Editors’ Preface and Acknowledgements VII
List of Contributors xi

Chapter 1 Wanton Women in Late-Imperial Chinese Literature: Models, Genres, Subversions and Traditions 3
Mark Stevenson

Part 1 Wanton Women in History and Fiction
Chapter 2 The Polyandrous Empress: Imperial Women and their Male Favorites 29
Keith McMahon
Chapter 3 The Male Homoerotic Wanton Woman in Late Ming Fiction 54
Mark Stevenson

Part 2 Wanton Women in Drama
Chapter 4 Musical Seductresses, Chauvinistic Men, and Their Erotic Kunqu Discourse 81
Joseph Lam
Chapter 5 Late Ming Urban Life and Wanton Women in Huang Fangyin’s Short Plays 105
Wu Cuncun

Part 3 Women’s Songs and Ballads
Chapter 6 Wanton, but not Bad: Women in Feng Menglong’s Mountain Songs 129
Yasushi Ôki
Chapter 7 Turning the Authorial Table: Women Writing Wanton (Wo)Men, Shame, and Jealousy in Two Qing Tanci 157
Maram Epstein
Chapter 8 Gossip, Scandal, and the Wanton Woman in Chinese Song-cycles 184
Anne McLaren

Specialists working on gender and sexuality in late-imperial China, as well as wider audiences interested in questions of gender and representation in literature and history.
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