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June 11, 2008

Giovanni Vitiello

Libertine Masculinity: Homosexuality and Homosociality
in Late Imperial Pornographic Fiction

Tuesday, October 28
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

Giovanni Vitiello
Associate Professor, Dept. of East Asian Languages and Literatures
University of Hawaii

This presentation focuses on the figure of the male libertine in pornographic fiction to argue that the boundaries of his sexuality and masculinity were drawn and redrawn, and in the process significantly altered, from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries. In late Ming erotic narratives we encournter a libertine whose masculinity is centrally realized through sexual penetration (of women and boys alike), and at once predicated upon his own impenetrability. But in a number of early Qing novels that same character can be sexually penetrated without his masculinity being compromised. Later still, in the first half of the eighteenth century, yet a new tendency is detectable, namely a gradual adumbration of the libertine's homoeroticism. These developments, while pointing at a shift in the representation of masculinity and male-male sexuality in fiction, might also signal an attempt to meet the new moral and legal standards of the mid-Qing period.

Professor Vitiello obtained a Laurea in Oriental Languages from the University of Rome, and MA and Ph.D. degrees in Chinese from the University of California at Berkeley. His research and publications focus on late imperial Chinese fiction and the history of sexuality. He has just completed a book manuscript by the title of The Libertine's Friend: Homosexuality and Masculinity in Late Imperial China - 1550-1850. He is currently Associate Professor of Chinese Literature at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

Posted by moyera at June 11, 2008 04:22 PM