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Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. Home Learning. Notify me. Description Published now for the first time, the controversial memoir of Sinologist Sir Edmund Backhouse, Decadence Mandchoue, provides a unique and shocking glimpse into the hidden world of China's imperial palace with its rampant corruption, grand conspiracies and uninhibited sexuality.
Backhouse was made notorious by Hugh Trevor-Roper's bestseller Hermit of Peking, which accused Backhouse of fraudulence and forgery. This work, written shortly before the author's death in , was dismissed by Trevor-Roper as nothing more than a pornographic noveletteA" and lay for decades forgotten and unpublished in the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.
Yet even the most incredible tales deserve at least a second opinion. This edition, created using a combination of the three original manuscripts held by the Bodleian, has been comprehensively annotated, fully translated and features an introduction by editor Derek Sandhaus, urging a reappraisal of Backhouse's legacy. Alternately shocking and lyrical, Decadence Mandchoue is the masterwork of a linguistic genius; a tremendous literary achievement and a sensational account of the inner workings of the Manchu dynasty in the years before its collapse in If true, Backhouse's chronicle completely reshapes contemporary historians' understanding of the era, and provides an account of the Empress Dowager and her inner circle that can only be described as intimate.
Product details Format Hardback pages Dimensions x x Review quote "Though Backhouse's credibility must certainly be challenged, does this mean that we discard all of Decadence Mandchoue automatically? His reputation as a source of Peking information has not been seriously challenged and even if he was relaying gossip, this was gossip that was taken seriously. Backhouse's memoirs remain historically highly controversial. This edition makes available to readers, for the first time, a little gem of English erotic literature from the pen of a very queer Englishman abroad.
For readers interested in literature notably travel literature on the one hand and sexuality on the other, its value is obvious and indisputable. He was co-author, with J. Considered a brilliant linguist and Chinese scholar in his day, and the subject of great controversy in the time since, Backhouse's reputation was posthumously tarnished when it was discovered that much of his work was based upon forged documents.
His precise role in the alleged deceptions remains one of the great puzzles of Chinese scholarship. He lives in Shanghai. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.
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Sex Tourism in the Age of Giants
Sex and bibliography are a potent mix for a certain kind of mind. Such a person will be fascinated by Decadence Mandchoue, an extraordinary, astonishing and altogether exceptional book that has had a strange history and was at first considered too pornographic to publish. It was later judged to consist largely of fantasy wish-fulfillment, which delayed its appearance even longer. Edmund Trelawny Backhouse left Oxford without a degree in , having helped raise money for the defense of Oscar Wilde and, according to his own account, had sex with him. He then traveled east, was granted an audience with the Tzar arranged for him by Tolstoy , and arrived in Beijing in
Memoir (or Is It?) of Sex and Opium
Then there are fuzzier facts, like his claim that he had affairs with both Oscar Wilde and the Empress Dowager Cixi. At the peak of his career, Backhouse was a respected expert in the field of Orientalism. He worked for The Times of London as a researcher and translator, and his books on China were best sellers. Two works he wrote with the British journalist J. But some of his sources and claims have since been proved fraudulent he was roundly criticized after it was discovered that a diary he quoted turned out be a forgery , and historians are divided on the significance of his contribution to Western understanding of Chinese life — and whether it is significant at all. Next week, two Hong Kong companies will release English and Chinese versions of a previously unpublished manuscript by Backhouse that purports to be a memoir.
The author tells detailed stories of his own liaisons with gay prostitutes, court officials and the Empress Dowager Cixi. How much of that world was observed by Backhouse living in late Qing Dynasty Beijing and how much he simply made up is the source of ongoing debate. He arrived in Beijing in and quickly became fluent in Chinese. The text also contains some non-sequiturs and implausible motivations that read like the contrivances of a porn video. At one point Cixi travels in disguise to a bathhouse where she demands to see various homosexual acts performed, supposedly for her edification. There are a few parts that are important from a historical perspective, but not for advancing the plot. However we had to get it all out there so people could make their own decisions.