Translation and Two “Chinese Sexologies”: Double Plum and Sex Histories

Rocha, Leon (2015) Translation and Two “Chinese Sexologies”: Double Plum and Sex Histories. In: Sexology and Translation: Cultural and Scientific Encounters across the Modern World. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, pp. 154-173. ISBN 9781439912492, 9781439912485, 9781439912508

Translation and Two “Chinese Sexologies”: Double Plum and Sex Histories

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This chapter examines the role of translation in the work of Ye Dehui and Zhang Jingsheng to show that they constructed two very different “Chinese sexologies” in the early twentieth century. Specifically, I analyze Ye Dehui’s famous Shadow of the Double Plum Tree Anthology (1903–1917) and Zhang Jingsheng’s equally notorious Sex Histories (1926), two projects—one from a self-fashioned vanguard of Confucianism disturbed and dismayed by the collapse of the Qing Empire, the other from a French-trained public intellectual and self-appointed agent of modernity—that despite their differences shared the same aim: to produce a new nation inhabited by a stronger and more intelligent Chinese race, more able to defend itself against foreign powers. By turning attention to how Ye and Zhang developed their ideas in and through the translation of existing texts, I show that these two men drew on radically different cultural traditions and sources of authority: while Ye’s sexology was indebted to Han Dynasty religious and medical texts, which he reconstructed from Japanese collections, Zhang turned to the Western philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the sexology of Havelock Ellis and Marie Stopes. Exploring their biographical background, I argue that Ye Dehui attempted to embargo the translation and movement of Western knowledge into China by establishing an “indigenous,” supposedly superior precedence, while Zhang Jingsheng made the case that thinkers such as Rousseau, Ellis, and Stopes urgently needed to be imported into Chinese culture.

Keywords:Modern Chinese History, History of Science, History of Sexuality
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V380 History of Science
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V241 Chinese History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V340 Intellectual History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V140 Modern History
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
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ID Code:34957
Deposited On:19 Feb 2019 12:40

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