Chapter

The Self Loving the Self: Men and Connoisseurship in Modern Chinese Literature

Wendy Larson

in Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780520211032
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935303 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520211032.003.0007
The Self Loving the Self: Men and Connoisseurship in Modern Chinese Literature

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This chapter discusses the concept of men and connoisseurship in modern Chinese literature. The Chinese literary tradition is male. Chinese literary culture, evolving out of a male-only educational and civil service examination system is so strongly identified by men as it puts them in a position entirely different from that of women, who are still fighting to be recognized as equals. Male writers problematized their relationship to the literary tradition in a way that directly questioned its gendered elitism and the limitations it produced. One way they did this was by creating the fictional character of the connoisseur and investigating connoisseurship, particularly that which involved women. The connoisseur was almost always male, and thus connoisseurship, a broader category than obsession, is an important means through which to evaluate masculinity in modern Chinese society. The four writers being discussed in this chapter all are well-known twentieth-century male Chinese writers. They all have used the character of the connoisseur as a trope of cultural critique.

Keywords: connoisseur; connoisseurship; modern Chinese literature; elitism; cultural critique

Chapter.  8968 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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