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Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China Paperback – 28 Jan 1993

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Product details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Reprint edition (28 Jan. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520078691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520078697
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,226,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"This study sheds light on an important aspect of Chinese social history about which virtually nothing has been written previously, and does so with sensitivity, good sense, and grace. It opens entirely new vistas on the history of sexuality. Readers will learn new and unexpected things not only about Chinese history and homosexuality, but about human nature itself."--John Boswell, Yale University

About the Author

Bret Hinsch is a Ph.D. candidate in history and East Asian languages at Harvard University. He is currently doing research in Taiwan.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Like so many aspects of Chinese culture, the origins of the homosexual tradition are both ancient and obscure. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By David Ian Viccars on 20 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting study using translations of the very few surviving ancient texts available to support the theories expounded. No great revelations but interesting nonetheless.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The first of it's kind 10 May 2005
By David D. Evseeff - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've seen some somewhat unfair criticisms of this book on here, so I'd like to set the record straight. I'm an American graduate student studying in Taiwan, and my field of studies is Chinese homoerotic literature. It is true that Hinsch's book is a bit outdated, but it was the first of it's kind in English, and I still find many good insights in my own research. Before this book's publication, there was very little research on this topic either in the West or in China/Taiwan. In recent years, a number of scholars have taken up this subject and there have been a number of intruiging articles and books published. Hinsch's work provided the impetus for more research in this field, which is exactly what the author's purpose in writing it was. As for the secondary research material in Chinese that some reviewers believe is superior, I have found it to be exactly the opposite. While there are some books and quite a few articles on the subject in Chinese, they are heavy on primary source material and light on good analysis and lack much application of good literary criticism or theory. This is the advantage that Sinology in the West maintains over research in China/Taiwan. I would definitely recommend that no one overlook or dismiss this excellent book by Dr. Hinsch! By the way, he now does research on women in Chinese history, and has published a book called "Women in Early Imperial China," as well as a number of articles. They are all well worth looking at!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great Book on the History of Homosexuality in China 11 May 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are not many resources on the history of Homosexuality in China and many Chinese will tell you that there isn't a history of it at all. This book spans two thousand years of history to show that there was a gay literary tradition in China. It is really the first work of the kind on China in English. It is full of romantic antidotes, poetry and stories from a time that China, particularly under communist influence has tried to deny or at least forget.
Personally I would like to see an update of this first work or the expansion by another author on other Asian countries like Korea where their homophobia has also prevailed and they have taken to rewriting pages of history.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Not Just for China Scholars 5 Aug. 2001
By tamiii - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This delightfully accessible book on an inaccessible topic provides an appetizing read. Bejeweled with wonderful quotations which are variously elegant, erotic, bawdy, and sometimes just simply endearing, the author reviews the two thousand year literary tradition of male same-sex attraction known as the "cut sleeve" (based on a lovely story which I will not spoil by recounting). In the course of this overview, the author provides interesting evidence of the benefits to kinship groups of same-sex relationships as well as the manner in which this tradition harmonized with reproductive marriage. Lastly, he describes how this tradition was lost--though one suspects that his explanation based on western cultural influence does not do justice to indigenous circumstance.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Best book written in English 4 Aug. 2000
By SEBASTIANVS - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book on the history of male-love in Chinese history written in English, and Xiaomingxiong's ZHONGGUO TONGXINGAI SHILU is the best one on the same topic written in Chinese. However in both of them, even I a Japanese can indicate some omissions of important persons and famous stories.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
the best survey in English 16 Jun. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Anyone who can read Chinese would do better to find Xiaomingxiong's ZHONGGUO TONGXINGAI SHILU (a 2nd edition of which has just been published).
Even if the only originality is the language and some of the readings are naive(ly romantic), this book presents the best survey IN ENGLISH of male-male love across three millennia of Chinese literature and chronicles and points readers to literature both in Chinese and English bearing on the subject
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