China’s Obscene 16th-Century Epic

Perry Link: ‘For centuries, Chin P’ing Mei (“The Plum in the Golden Vase“) – a sprawling tale of the rise and fall of a corrupt merchant and his six wives, and only now available in a complete English version – “has been known in China as an ‘obscene book.’ Governments have banned it and parents have hidden it from children.” Yet, as a 17th-century critic put it, “anyone who says that Chin P’ing Mei is an obscene book has probably only taken the trouble to read the obscene passages.”’

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