Chapter

Highbrow Ambivalence: Fear of the Masses and Feminized Sentiment

Eugenia Lean

in Public Passions

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780520247185
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932678 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247185.003.0004
Highbrow Ambivalence: Fear of the Masses and Feminized Sentiment

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Although it describes a contemporaneous crime of passion that featured a female assassin by the name of Liu Jinggui, the epigraph for this chapter illustrates how, despite public interest in them, crimes featuring passionate women caused considerable anxiety to elite observers. This chapter identifies several historical reasons for the antipathy toward sentiment among social commentators of the day. These include a sharp disillusionment with May Fourth discourses that had located modern liberation within progressive forms of female sentiment. Part of the antipathy toward sentiment also stemmed from the increasingly uncomfortable situation in which intellectuals and professionals found themselves in the 1930s.

Keywords: social commentary; female assassin; Liu Jinggui; May Fourth discourses; modern liberation

Chapter.  12049 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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