In China, the concubine is a trophy showing a man’s success. No major religion on earth has had a lasting impact on the Chinese culture in more than a thousand years.
In fact, the concept that lust is a mortal sin does not exist in China unless a Chinese has adopted Christianity as his or her religion.
That does not mean China is without morals but the moral codes of China exist without the sin of mortal lust as Catholics and many devout Christians believe. In fact, I’ve known mainland Chinese that are extremely moral and would put most Puritans to shame.
The idea to focus on Robert Hart’s struggles with his Victorian, Christian morals while living in 19th century China’s concubine culture sprouted when I first read his journals and letters published by Harvard University Press.
Other influences were Anchee Min’s Empress Orchid and The Last Empress: A Novel, which go into detail about the lives of the more than three thousand concubines that belonged to the emperor.
After all, in 19th century China, the more power and wealth a man had, the more women he owned.
Another influence was the movie directed by director Zhang Yimou in 1991, Raise the Red Lantern, which “focuses on the ever-shifting balance of power between the various concubines while the husband ignores much of what is going on — taking his pleasures when he feels like it.”
For anyone that might agree with “colorado outback” or my “mother” that My Splendid Concubine should be censored, burned or put on a “DON’T BUY LIST”, Amazon Kindle offers a free preview of the first few chapters as does the Websites for My Splendid Concubine and the sequel, Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine.
Read the first few chapters of the novel free and learn if you agree with “colorado outback” that this novel is “soft porn” and should be banned. Why spend money for something you may want to burn unless you really want to burn it?
Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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