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Table Of Contents

Introduction
Flight to the Land of Oz
BLACKMAIL, ARREST, AND JAIL
FLIGHT TO ITALY AND CHINA
FLIGHT OF THE IMAGINATION
The Exotic Appeal of Chinese Boy-Actors
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BOY-ACTOR AESTHETIC
EUROPEAN MEN AND CHINESE BOY-ACTORS
SAME-SEX MALE LOVE IN CHINA
“THE GREATEST AFFLICTION OF MY LONG AND AGITATED LIFE”
Establishing Friendships in Post-1911 China
FRIENDS FROM AFAR
THE SEARCH FOR BOYS
MIXING BOYS AND POLITICS
FRIENDS BUT NOT LOVERS
SPECIAL FRIENDS
Establishing Intellectual Connections with China
THE PERSISTENT RUMOR
THE ECCENTRIC SINOLOGIST
FOREIGN EXPATRIATES AND CHINESE INTELLECTUALS
VIRGIL AND AN UNFINISHED POEM
The Reorientation of Western Aesthetics
FRENCH HOMOEROTICISM
MOVING THE MUSE OF POETRY FROM EUROPE TO CHINA
BRINGING CHINESE ART TO THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND
Epilogue
Notes
Chinese Character Glossary
Bibliography
Index
About the Author
P. 1
Western Queers in China: Flight to the Land of Oz

Western Queers in China: Flight to the Land of Oz

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Published by RowmanLittlefield
This unique work examines the role played by sexuality in the historical encounter between China and the West. Distinguished historian D. E. Mungello focuses especially on Western homosexuals who saw China as a place of escape from the homophobia of Europe and North America. His groundbreaking study traces the lives of two dozen men, many previously unknown to have same-sex desire, who fled to China and in the process influenced perceptions of Chinese culture to this day. Their individual stories encompass flight from homophobia in their home countries, the erotic attraction of Chinese boy-actors, friendships with Chinese men, intellectual connections with the Chinese, and the reorientation of Western aesthetics toward China.

Mungello explores historical attitudes and the atmosphere of oppression toward men with same-sex desire as he recounts the intensification of repression of queers in Europe and North America in the late nineteenth-century. He shows how China became a place of escape, a homosexual “land of Oz” where men could flee from the closets of their minds. Some traveled to China and lived there; others immersed themselves in Chinese culture at a distance. Most established long-term friendships and acted as cultural intermediaries who opened the aesthetic range of Western culture to a new sense of beauty and a fresh source of inspiration for poets, artists, and dramatists. Their “boys”—Chinese males whose services were available at low cost as messengers, rickshaw pullers, guides, cooks, entertainers, escorts, and prostitutes—were transformed into a universal metaphor of Chinese culture that lingers to this day. Indeed, outside men’s range of relationships, intellectual and physical, have had a profound impact in shaping the modern Western conception of China.
This unique work examines the role played by sexuality in the historical encounter between China and the West. Distinguished historian D. E. Mungello focuses especially on Western homosexuals who saw China as a place of escape from the homophobia of Europe and North America. His groundbreaking study traces the lives of two dozen men, many previously unknown to have same-sex desire, who fled to China and in the process influenced perceptions of Chinese culture to this day. Their individual stories encompass flight from homophobia in their home countries, the erotic attraction of Chinese boy-actors, friendships with Chinese men, intellectual connections with the Chinese, and the reorientation of Western aesthetics toward China.

Mungello explores historical attitudes and the atmosphere of oppression toward men with same-sex desire as he recounts the intensification of repression of queers in Europe and North America in the late nineteenth-century. He shows how China became a place of escape, a homosexual “land of Oz” where men could flee from the closets of their minds. Some traveled to China and lived there; others immersed themselves in Chinese culture at a distance. Most established long-term friendships and acted as cultural intermediaries who opened the aesthetic range of Western culture to a new sense of beauty and a fresh source of inspiration for poets, artists, and dramatists. Their “boys”—Chinese males whose services were available at low cost as messengers, rickshaw pullers, guides, cooks, entertainers, escorts, and prostitutes—were transformed into a universal metaphor of Chinese culture that lingers to this day. Indeed, outside men’s range of relationships, intellectual and physical, have had a profound impact in shaping the modern Western conception of China.

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Publish date: Feb 2012
Added to Scribd: Jul 31, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781442215580
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