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Public PassionsThe Trial of Shi Jianqiao and the Rise of Popular Sympathy in Republican China$
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Eugenia Lean

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520247185

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247185.001.0001

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Highbrow Ambivalence: Fear of the Masses and Feminized Sentiment

Highbrow Ambivalence: Fear of the Masses and Feminized Sentiment

(p.77) Three Highbrow Ambivalence: Fear of the Masses and Feminized Sentiment
Public Passions

Eugenia Lean

University of California Press

Although it describes a contemporaneous crime of passion that featured a female assassin by the name of Liu Jinggui, the epigraph for this chapter illustrates how, despite public interest in them, crimes featuring passionate women caused considerable anxiety to elite observers. This chapter identifies several historical reasons for the antipathy toward sentiment among social commentators of the day. These include a sharp disillusionment with May Fourth discourses that had located modern liberation within progressive forms of female sentiment. Part of the antipathy toward sentiment also stemmed from the increasingly uncomfortable situation in which intellectuals and professionals found themselves in the 1930s.

Keywords:   social commentary, female assassin, Liu Jinggui, May Fourth discourses, modern liberation

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