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City of Marvel and TransformationChangan and Narratives of Experience in Tang Dynasty China$
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Linda Rui Feng

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824841065

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824841065.001.0001

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Negotiating the Pleasure Quarters

Negotiating the Pleasure Quarters

Chapter:
(p.112) Chapter Five Negotiating the Pleasure Quarters
Source:
City of Marvel and Transformation
Author(s):

Linda Rui Feng

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824841065.003.0005

“Negotiating the Pleasure Quarters” examines the demimonde of Chang’an in the Pingkang Ward as the intersection between sexual commerce and examination culture. Through contextualized close reading of key vignettes from the late-Tang collection Anecdotes from the Northern Ward (Beili zhi), this chapter argues that they illustrate the scintillating points of contact between the demimonde and a world of urban alleys and non-literati networks. The anecdotes make visible the channels and flows of information, desire, and resources in an urban space. Here in its undulating lanes, the literati visitor must acquire the urban savvy to recognize the workings of such a world operating behind the discourse of romance.

Keywords:   sexual commerce, examination culture, courtesan, gossip, network, vernacular culture, alleyway

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