A hundred years ago, a character made his first appearance in the world of literature who was to enter the bloodstream of 20th-century popular culture: the evil genius called Dr Fu Manchu, described at the beginning of the first story in which he appeared as `the yellow peril incarnate in one man'. Why did the idea that the Chinese were a threat to Western civilization develop at precisely the time when that country was in chaos, divided against itself, victim of successive famines and utterly incapable of being a `peril' to anyone even if it had wanted to be? Here, Sir Christopher Frayling assembles an astonishing diversity of evidence to show how deeply ingrained Chinaphobia became in the West - so acutely relevant again in the new era of Chinese superpower. Along the way he talks to Edward Said, to the last Governor of Hong Kong, to Sax Rohmer's widow, to movie stars and a host of others; he journeys through the opium dens of the 19th century with Charles Dickens; takes us to the heart of popular culture in the music hall, pulp literature and the mass-market press; and shows how film amplifies our assumptions, demonstrating throughout how we neglect the history of popular culture at our own peril if we want to understand our deepest desires and fears.
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
Number of pages: 360
Weight: 800 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 39 mm
'Christopher Frayling brilliantly chronicles a shameful history of racism, and warns against the assumption that it no longer exists' - Guardian
'A wise, intellectually curious study of the west's anxieties about the "yellow peril", it is a testament to the author's cunning in selecting such an unexpectedly fertile subject - a cunning worthy of even Fu Manchu' - New Statesman
'Dismantling popular Sinophobia has become a pressing diplomatic task, as Frayling reminds us in this scintillating book' - The Times
'Exhaustive and fascinating ... thorough and fluently written' - Times Literary Supplement
'A fascinating exploration of a surprisingly long-lived phenomenon, combining a wealth of arresting detail with a big theme that has relevance today' - Jonathan Fenby, author of 'The Seventy Wonders of China'