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Changing Chinese MasculinitiesFrom Imperial Pillars of State to Global Real Men$
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Louie Kam

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208562

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208562.001.0001

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Theater and the Text-Spatial Reproduction of Literati and Mercantile Masculinities in Nineteenth-Century Beijing

Theater and the Text-Spatial Reproduction of Literati and Mercantile Masculinities in Nineteenth-Century Beijing

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 Theater and the Text-Spatial Reproduction of Literati and Mercantile Masculinities in Nineteenth-Century Beijing
Source:
Changing Chinese Masculinities
Author(s):

Mark Stevenson

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888208562.003.0004

With historians’ recognition of the growth in influence of the mercantile class in the Ming dynasty it is common to identify the appearance of contrasting and competing forms of cultural power along literati (shi) and mercantile (shang) lines. Examining how ancient spatial distinctions came to be reproduced in late-imperial textual strategies I argue that nineteenth century literati commentaries on attractive Beijing actors (huapu) represents a form of writing aimed at distinguishing the literati as a cultural group over and against merchants. The same process is found to reflect a historical prioritization of literary (wen) over martial (wu) masculinity in a manner that textually and spatially emasculates mercantile men. When considered along wen-wu lines, actors available for dating (xianggong) turn out to be better readers of wen masculinity and more effective in embodying that ideal than merchant theatergoers.

Keywords:   flower-guides (huapu), wen-wu dyad, literati, merchants, Beijing, hegemonic masculinities, cultural power

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