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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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The Plebification of Male-Love in Late Ming Fiction

The Plebification of Male-Love in Late Ming Fiction

The Forgotten Tales of Longyang

Chapter:
(p.72) 4 The Plebification of Male-Love in Late Ming Fiction
Source:
Changing Chinese Masculinities
Author(s):

Cuncun Wu

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888208562.003.0005

Published in 1632, The Forgotten Tales of Longyang provides a wealth of insights into male same-sex prostitution in the late-Ming period. Among the twenty tales, the stories narrate various forms of male prostitution from private agreements, deals via go-betweens, to commercial male brothels available to all-comers. This diversity of venues and arrangements appears to reflect the instability in which male love (nanfeng男風‎) was caught up as a result of late-Ming urbanization, as well as the growth of urbanization in key regional centers. It also represents a diversification of the market following the pervasion of market forces into ever more corners of life. This paper focuses on how the passive role in same-sex prostitution was represented and what that might tell us about Ming society. I have set out to assess what the collection reveals concerning changes in late-Ming male same-sex prostitution, particularly in regard to increased social and spatial mobility of xiaoguan (catamites) and the range of factors determining their social positioning, their trade being subject to commercial rationalization as it is privatized and monetarized.

Keywords:   The Forgotten Tales of Longyang, late Ming, male same-sex prostitution, fiction, social mobility, plebification, catamites

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