Becoming-woman in Pu Songling's strange tales

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3 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the animal-human erotic encounters in Pu Songling's strange [zhiguai 志怪] tales, using Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's theories of becoming-woman and affect to think through several intersecting kinds of otherness, including the queer, the woman, the animal, and the strange. Zhiguai is a genre of writing that features ghosts, magical animal-human shapeshifting, dreams that intervene in reality, and other supernatural characters and events. The traditional scholarly approach to the zhiguai tales has been to understand queerkind in these tales as purely allegorical representations of humans and human society. This article approaches them from the perspective of their distinct supernatural qualities or the importance of hybrid human-animal bodies in the stories, as opposed to an anthropocentric reading of the zhiguai tales. It argues that the bodily transformations in the zhiguai tales are Deleuzian becoming-woman, which are sexually transgressive when eroticized queerkind bodies and desires queer the Confucian feminine norm of chaste women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-113
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Chinese Humanities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Animal-human erotic encounters
  • Becoming-woman
  • Queer
  • Women
  • Zhiguai

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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