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Mastery of Words and SwordsNegotiating Intellectual Masculinities in Modern China, 1890s-1930s$
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Jun Lei

Print publication date: 2022

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528745

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528745.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Consuming the Modern Girl

Consuming the Modern Girl

Middlebrow Literary Masculinity and Surrogate Violence in Shanghai New Sensationalism

(p.117) 5 Consuming the Modern Girl
Mastery of Words and Swords

Jun Lei

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter focuses on the New Sensationalist school of writers Liu Na’ou and Mu Shiying whose worked gained popularity in Shanghai in the turbulent era of the late 1920s to the mid-1930s. It analyzes how race, class, and gender intersected within the cosmopolis where Chinese male authors became part of what was then considered middleclass urban professionals. The neo-sensationalists took issues with tension of urban life as middlebrow men experienced it, specifically in terms of the emasculation complex elicited by both an unfulfilled desire for the Modern Girl and the oppressive racial and class hierarchies of the semi-colonial city. The textual tactic of “surrogate violence” allows the authors to confront the inner conflict about violent means to achieve masculinity: he can simultaneously engage with a fantasy of violence and its sensations through the surrogate on the one hand, and with the judgement and disparagement of it, on the other.

Keywords:   middlebrow masculinity, class and racial hierarchies, urban space, Modern Girl, Free professionals, Liu Na’ou, Mu Shiying

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