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Stevenson M, Wu C. A Tale of an Infatuated Woman. 2002.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/2069
A Tale of an Infatuated Woman
The identity and origin of the author of "A Tale of an Infatuated Woman" is unknown. The name of the attributed "compiler", Lotus Lord is obviously a 'nom de plume', as are the other names used by various "commentators". The novel at this time in China's history was not universally regarded as being within the limits of respectable pursuits and authors did not usually identify themselves directly with the products of their creative labours. With erotic works the need authors felt to hide their identity was even greater.Beyond the requirements of anonymity, however, there were otherstrategies in the adoption of a 'nom de plume'. The names of the fictitious authors of erotic works became an important part of the licentious impact of a novel. Pseudonyms variously communicated information about the cultural, historic, stylistic and aesthetic norms that informed the telling of the tale. They also communicated claims relating to authorial authority, indicating the erudition, taste, or erotic wisdom of the author. "Lotus Lord" is the epithet of a man who takes pride in his conquests of beautiful women. Lotuses ('furong', 'hehua', 'lian') were a key symbol denoting female beauty - and in the Ming dynasty they did not only carry connotations of purity, the flower was already inextricably associated with bound feet and sexual adventure. From a glance at the author's name readers of this story could be confident that the tale about to be uncovered was told by a reliably experienced source, a man who not only had much experience of women, but also had "mastered" them.