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Full Access Opium and Sexuality in late Qing Fiction

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Opium and Sexuality in late Qing Fiction

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This article examines opium smoking in two gendered contexts of the late Qing, as an activity among socializing men and in situations between men and women. The method is to use fiction to ask how male and female smokers differed and in general to show how opium came to symbolize an uncanny and ominous disruption of the social fabric. In terms of gender, the obscene enjoyment of the female smoker was exponentially more threatening in the prohibitionist's eyes than that of the male. As the sign of an unprecedented type of pleasure, opium addiction threatened to denaturalize the boundaries of cultural as well as gender identity.


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