Stigmatic bodies: The corporeal Qiu Miaojin
Source TitleEmbodied Modernities: Corporeality, Representation, and Chinese Cultures
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
University of Melbourne Author/sMartin, Francesca
AffiliationCulture And Communication
CitationsMartin, F. (2006). Stigmatic bodies: The corporeal Qiu Miaojin. Heinrich, L (Ed.). Martin, F (Ed.). Embodied Modernities: Corporeality, Representation, and Chinese Cultures, (1), pp.177-194. University of Hawaii Press.
Access StatusOpen Access
B1 - Research Book Chapters
Deposited with permission of University of Hawaii Press
Qiu Miaojin (1969–1995) is Taiwan’s best-known lesbian author. In local lesbian (nütongzhi) subcultures, Qiu’s books are frequently cited as classics, particularly her 1994 novel The Crocodile’s Journal (Eyu shouji), the first novel in Taiwan’s modern literary history to be written by an author commonly known to be a lesbian that takes erotic relationships between women as its central theme. Qiu’s fiction is much celebrated, too, in the mainstream literary establishment; The Crocodile’s Journal won the prestigious China Times Honorary Prize for Literature for Qiu posthumously, following her suicide in mid-1995. Qiu’s unique literary style—mingling cerebral, experimental language use, psychological realism, biting social critique through allegory, and a surrealist effect deriving from the use of arrestingly unusual metaphors—is strongly influenced by both European and Japanese literary and cinematic modernisms. Although her fiction has been compared, in its principal subject-matter, to Radclyffe Hall’s 1920s classic of lesbian alienation, The Well of Loneliness, most frequently cited in Qiu’s writings are male modernist and postmodernist ‘masters’ (many of whose work shows a strongly homoerotic aesthetic) including Andre Gide, Jean Genet, Kobo Abe, Yukio Mishima, Haruki Murakami, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Derek Jarman—locally, Qiu’s work has been critiqued for this apparent masculinist bias. Qiu’s early short stories ‘Zero Degree’ (‘Linjiedian,’ 1988) and ‘Platonic Hair’ (‘Bolatu zhi fa,’ 1990), to be discussed in this chapter, appeared in her first collection, The Revelry of Ghosts (Guide kuanghuan) in 1991, following their earlier serialization in local daily newspapers. They are Qiu’s first works to treat thematically homoerotic desire between women.
KeywordsChinese; Culture; Gender; Sexuality; Languages and Literature; Studies in Human Society
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