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Reading Music and Eroticism in Late Ming Texts

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Numerous late Ming writings describe eroticism of that time with references to contemporary music. Reading these musical-erotic texts, one asks why and how late Ming words, music, and eroticism became interrelated, and what do their interrelationships inform us about their culture and society? One may also ask how did late Ming music express and catalyze erotic negotiations of the time. To stimulate discussions about the issues, this essay postulates that late Ming contemporaries manipulated music as objects, sites, and processes to advance their erotic agendas. This essay unfolds in two parts. The first part introduces cultural and historical features of late Ming musical-erotic discourse; the second part analyzes a number of its revealing texts.

Affiliations: 1: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor;, Email:


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