Sexuality as rebellious gesture in Wang Xiaobo’s The Golden Age trilogy




Jin, Wenhao

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Wang Xiaobo is a Post-Mao novelist whose works have prompted tremendous attention from the intellectuals and the public after his death. The straightforward representation of sex in his fiction is often considered as one of the sources that contribute to his “liberal spirit”. This is because many of Wang Xiaobo’s stories full of sexual depictions are set during the Cultural Revolution. But Wang Xiaobo’s ambiguous manipulation of the relationship between sex and the power makes his resistance to authoritarianism a tricky issue. On the one hand, his nonchalant attitude to both sex and politics can be interpreted as a mocking of the Maoist ideology. On the other hand, the author’s detachment from the political background and the protagonist’s sexual carnival in the rural areas can be considered as indifferent to the Cultural Revolution. The engagement with Maoist ideology in the theoretical framework of suppression/revolt cannot give a satisfactory answer to the role of sex in his fiction. This thesis amends this framework by taking other elements than Maoist discourse into consideration.



Wang Xiaobo, sexual modernity, body politics, Cultural Revolution