Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6¼ x 9
978-1-4422-1556-6 • Hardback • February 2012 • $92.00 • (£71.00)
978-1-4422-1558-0 • eBook • February 2012 • $87.00 • (£67.00)
D. E. Mungello is professor of history emeritus at Baylor University. His books include The Great Encounter of China and the West, 1500–1800, Drowning Girls in China: Female Infanticide since 1650, Western Queers in China: The Fight to the Land of Oz, and The Catholic Invasion of China.
Chapter 1: Flight to the Land of Oz
Chapter 2: The Exotic Appeal of Chinese Boy-Actors
Chapter 3: Establishing Friendships in Imperial China
Chapter 4: Establishing Friendships in Post-1911 China
Chapter 5: Establishing Intellectual Connections with China
Chapter 6: The Reorientation of Western Aesthetics
Mungello has succeeded in vividly, empathetically and convincingly characterising a wide array of queer men, while acknowledging any gaps or uncertainties in the evidence. The book is a lucid, focused and coherent study on an under-researched topic, and deserves special respect for its broadening of the focus of LGBT/Queer research within Chinese Studies.
— Women and Gender in Chinese Studies Review
This is a heartfelt tour of sinology’s gay male closet, the door for some of the scholars and ‘aesthetes’ who journeyed from the West to China locked more tightly than for others. By consulting archives and attempting personal contact with surviving family and friends (not all of whom agreed to talk), historian Mungello tells the ‘story of how twenty-three different men with same-sex desire fled to China and influenced history.’ . . . Throughout, Mungello asks a familiar question—What links a (Western, male) homosexual orientation with a passion for Asia?—but from a newer perspective: China hands in the Age of Imperialism. His book is informed, entertaining, and melancholy in equal measure. The heart may be unfathomable, but Mungello has proven it is there.
— John Whittier Treat, Yale University; Journal of Asian Studies
D. E. Mungello explores the fascinating question of why so many gay men have been attracted to China, and what impact their enthusiasm has had on Western perceptions of that country. Instead of seeing Orientalism from the standpoint of the Asian subaltern, the reader is shown how generations of gay men have turned to China as a psychological, aesthetic, and even legal refuge. . . . A valuable contribution to our understanding of imperialism, Orientalism, and gay history. Mungello demonstrates the surprisingly important role that gay men have had in eliciting Western awareness of China’s profoundly rich aesthetic and intellectual heritage. He also suggests how homoeroticism has shaped Western scholarship and literature about China. Readers cannot help but come away with a fresh view of the history of Sino-Western interactions.
— Bret Hinsch, author of Women in Ancient China, Women in Early Medieval China, Women in Imperial China; Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China
This is a fascinating read for anyone involved with China. David Mungello's novel focus on sexual orientation and Sinology illuminates the individuality of these cultural pioneers to striking effect.
— T. H. Barrett, University of London
This is a fascinating journey into the lives of a number of Western men who, especially at the turn of last century, felt irresistibly attracted to China, traveled there, and sometimes made it their home. Aesthetes and art collectors, pharmacists, poets and opera fans, eccentric Sinologists—what drew these men to China? Many of them, David Mungello suggests, shared a most private and powerful secret—their homosexuality. Much has been written about orientalists as complicit agents of the colonial enterprise. Mungello’s book offers a corrective, showing that at least some of them might have been sexual refugees more than anything else.
— Giovanni Vitiello, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa