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Helena Grice

Gold mountain heroes T he original title of Maxine Hong Kingston’s second book was not ‘China Men’ but ‘Gold Mountain Heroes’. Kingston’s decision to call her first draft by this name was linked to her desire to tell her male and female ancestors’ stories separately, because ‘ The Woman Warrior seemed to break itself away naturally from the rest of the chapters probably because of its strong feminist viewpoint. Some of the “hero” chapters undermined this viewpoint’. 3 This might suggest that the material that comprised China Men

in Maxine Hong Kingston
Author: Helena Grice

Since the publication of The Woman Warrior in 1976, Maxine Hong Kingston has gained a reputation as one of the most popular—and controversial—writers in the Asian American literary tradition. This book traces her development as a writer and cultural activist through both ethnic and feminist discourses, investigating her novels, occasional writings, and her two-book ‘life-writing project’. The publication of The Woman Warrior not only propelled Kingston into the mainstream literary limelight, but also precipitated a vicious and ongoing controversy in Asian American letters over the authenticity—or fakery—of her cultural references. This book traces the debates through the appearance of China Men (1981), as well as the novel Tripmaster Monkey (1989) and her most recent work The Fifth Book of Peace.

Claire Lowrie

. While acknowledging the role played by British and white Australian mistresses in this process the key argument of this chapter is that the role played by the colonial administrations of Singapore and Darwin and that of Chinese men themselves was of greater significance. The rich body of work on the white mistress and the colonial home has made immeasurable contributions to the historiography

in Masters and servants
Lucy Bland

enticing entrapments was socially desirable and indeed women’s pursuit of drugs, gambling and/or men of colour generated extensive media attention. This chapter thus concerns young modern women/flappers of the Metropolis and the debates and anxieties concerning their susceptibility to and pursuit of sensation, pleasure and desire, whether these be sought in the bright lights and nightlife of the West End, or through relationships with Chinese men in East End’s Limehouse. The focus here is on the representation of three different ‘types’ of modern woman: the ‘butterfly

in Modern women on trial
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Helena Grice

. Critical work on Kingston has been heavily dominated by a focus upon The Woman Warrior , and to a lesser degree, China Men . Early responses to The Woman Warrior in particular tended to focus upon Kingston’s use of Chinese sources, and became very dominated by the controversies surrounding her work to which I allude above. An overview of this may be found in Sau-ling Wong’s essay, ‘Kingston’s Handling of Traditional Chinese Sources’ (1991), which defended Kingston’s work from the Aiiieeeee! critics and others. Later criticism approached the narrative from a range

in Maxine Hong Kingston
Domestic tension and political antagonism in the home, 1910s–1930s
Claire Lowrie

Australian women who began making their homes in Singapore and Darwin in this period, had expected to be aided in the task by loyal Chinese ‘boys’. Instead, they encountered Chinese men whom they claimed refused to follow instruction. For the white women of Singapore and Darwin this was not merely an inconvenience but called into question the legitimacy of their place in the colonial venture. 2 In

in Masters and servants
Sexual transgression in the age of the flapper
Author: Lucy Bland

This book looks at the highly publicised, sensational trials of several young female protagonists in the period 1918-1924. These cases, all presented by the press as morality tales involving drugs, murder, adultery, miscegenation and sexual perversion, are used as a prism through which to identify concerns about modern femininity. The book first examines a libel case, brought by a well-known female dancer against a maverick right-wing MP for the accusation of lesbianism. One aspect of this libel trial involved the drawing up of battle-lines in relation to the construction of a new, post-war womanhood. The book then looks at two inquests and three magistrate-court trials that involved women and drugs; young women in relationships with Chinese men were also effectively in the dock. One way of accessing court proceedings has been via the account of the trial published as part of the Notable British Trial Series. There are no extant trial transcripts. But there are prosecution depositions lodged at the National Archives, much press reportage, and a number of relevant memoirs, all giving a keen sense of the key issues raised by the trial. The book also focuses on an extraordinary divorce case, that of Christabel Russell, involving cross-dressing, claims of a virgin birth, extreme sexual ignorance, and a particular brand of eccentric modern femininity.

Hawai‘i One Summer (1987/1998)
Helena Grice

the visiting writer in Hawai‘i is of an artist retreating from urban, mainland America to the balm of the islands. 30 Kingston’s Hawai‘i: The Woman Warrior and China Men This debate on belonging, ownership, exclusion and literary production prefigures, of course, the intense scrutiny Kingston’s work was to receive across the water in California a decade later when she was viciously attacked, in 1984 and 1991 respectively, by the Chinese American writer Frank Chin for the ‘fakery’ of her writing in The Woman

in Maxine Hong Kingston
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Domestic service at the end of Empire
Claire Lowrie

servants was a ‘right’ reserved for white Australians. In Singapore, too, the objectives of the colonial project shaped the form of domestic service. Similarly with Darwin, immigration restriction targeting Chinese men played a key role in the decline of Chinese ‘houseboys’. However, the intention here was not to create a colony for the white race but to protect the stability of

in Masters and servants
Masculinity, sexuality and racial anxiety in the home, 1880s–1930s
Claire Lowrie

anxieties about their intimacy with, dependency on and vulnerability to the Chinese men who served them. White men’s concerns about their intimate contact with Chinese men were marked to different degrees in Singapore and Darwin, reflecting the varied status of these sites as an exploitation colony and a settler colony respectively, as well as the particularities of racial power, colonial manhood and sexual

in Masters and servants