A fascinating and haunting exploration of the bound foot in Chinese culture. In Aching for Beauty, Wang interprets the mystery of footbinding as part of a. The earliest mention of foot binding in Chinese history may date to the 21st century B.C., when the founder of the Xia dynasty was said to have married a fox fairy. ACHING FOR BEAUTY: Footbinding in China by Wang Ping. Why did so many Chinese women over a thousand-year period bind their feet.

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Chinese Women and Rural Development: Food and Foot Fetishes in China pp. Recommended for anyone interested in Chinese history and culture. Footbinding and the Cult of. Account Options Sign in.

Aching for Beauty Footbinding in China It is a bit dry at points, and sometimes it’s difficult to follow the narrative or perhaps the problem is that there isn’t one. She raises some interesting points, but this was too ponderous to be a good introduction to the topic. Wang herself is one of our most mutable authors-poet, novelist, short story writer, editor, translator, academic-and, while being an impressive researcher, she’s artist enough here to guide us smoothly through this tangle of fascinating, esoteric, and not infrequently gleefully appalling material.

I do that too and I’m grateful that I had people who kindly pointed them out for me. LiteratureCultural CriticismHistory. I understand that literary scholars often have the impulse to dig up and exaggerate the subversiveness of writings by the oppressed, but it’s just not vor case that those figures, women from some centuries ago, for example, were so pent up One can tell the author writes novels, which genre she transmits directly into her academic writing.


I had hoped that it would include some personal insight into the practice. Open Preview See a Problem? I think it’s an invention of western white imperialist patriarchy and should’ve died footbunding with Freud.

The whole book is plagued–if I may use this rather strong expression–by overinterpretation, an unfortunate result of achng author’s overflowing subjectivity. Footbinding in Chinese Erotica. Some of the connections she makes, for example, the bound foot to the Lacanian phallus, speak to the work’s origin as her dissertation, but overall her insights are well worth the time spent reading. Why did so many Chinese women over a thousand-year period bind their feet, enduring rotting flesh, throbbing pain, and hampered mobility throughout their lives?

This turned out to be a doctoral dissertation. At its best, it’s a genreless prose work, wandering freely through a forest of mostly inaccessible to a general English-language reader texts and subject matter. Kayden Press Book Award With a comprehensive footbnding of the notions of hierarchy, femininity, and fetish bound up in the tradition, Aching for Beauty places footbinding in its proper context and opens a window onto an intriguing culture.

Anna Anderson rated it it was amazing Feb 06, If I wanted penises in my literature, I’d read pretty much any classic book. Jun 04, Nicole rated it it was amazing. You can’t pass what you wish for for what was possible. Aching for Beauty is one of the fpr stimulating and exciting books I have read in a long, long time-a work of cultural criticism and comparative study at its best.

Project MUSE – Aching For Beauty

Avhing for Beauty is an exhilarating and exhaustive study of the Chinese custom of footbinding, as well as all the literature surrounding it, much of it previously unavailable to Western readers. Love the body of water, its sound and smell, love the touch of the muddy beach and golden sand.


Wang Ping, fooybinding in Shanghai, came to the United States in I was disappointed with this book overall. Wang Ping has succeeded triumphantly in this provocative and engaging book.

Both beauty and talent count here. In the best tradition of cultural studies, Wang here takes on a giant storehouse of subject matter and glides through its labyrinthine corridors in fluid, often intuitive, moves, commenting eloquently in hit-or-miss fashion along the way.

Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China

If you read only that section out of the whole book, you would not cahing known Achi This would have been a good deal drier if the author hadn’t added in many references to older literature and anecdotes by a variety of women, which I heartily enjoyed.

Then it was like pulling teeth. Written in an elegant and powerful style, and filled with personal, intriguing, and sometimes paradoxical insights, Aching for Beauty builds bridges from the past to the present, East to West, history to literature, imagination to reality. The Fabric of Masquerade.

I was barely able to get through a couple of chapters before I gave The description on the back of “Aching for Beauty” reads: She seems to not realize that no woman was supposed to look vootbinding the Sphinx or the mermaid – fhina Chinese women were “forced” to have hooves.

Because the author is also a poet and a novelist, her literary gifts are everywhere evident, particularly in her deft analysis of the language and literature of the golden lotuses.

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