chapter  10
18 Pages

Desire and masculinity at the margins in Gu Cheng’s Ying’er

In their ground-breaking article on Chinese masculinity, Kam Louie and Louise Edwards advance an account of the broad specific features of Chinese masculinity based on the guiding principle that “Chinese masculinity has evolved in a historical and cultural context that required no inspiration and gained no benefit from comparisons with the West” (Louie and Edwards 1994, 148). Louie develops this insight in Theorising Chinese Masculinity, in which he presents an expanded account of Chinese male identity in terms of the wen-wu [literary-martial] paradigm. This paradigm is characterised by biological and cultural features, and offers what might be described as alternative normative roles – those, to put it simply, of soldier and scholar – for subjects that identify themselves as male.