Manchu Decadence: The China Memoirs of Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse, Abridged and Unexpurgated (China History)

Manchu Decadence: The China Memoirs of Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse, Abridged and Unexpurgated (China History)

Language: English

Pages: 390

ISBN: 988199828X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In 1898 a young Englishman walked into a homosexual brothel in Peking and began a journey that he claims took him all the way to the bedchamber of imperial China’s last great ruler, the Empress Dowager Tz’u Hsi. The man was Sir Edmund Backhouse, and his controversial memoirs, Décadence Mandchoue, were published for the first time by Earnshaw Books in 2011. This edition, renamed Manchu Decadence, is abridged and unexpurgated, meaning that it focuses on the most extraordinary and valuable elements of Backhouse’s narrative. Backhouse was a talented sinologist, and his book provides a unique and shocking glimpse into the hidden world of China’s imperial palace, with its rampant corruption, grand conspiracies and uninhibited sexuality.

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downward gesture to indicate decapitation. “Secondly, tell the empress not to exclude my tablet from the ancestral temple but to make P’u Lun my joint heir on a parity with my predecessor, T’ung Chih” (this was done a month later). Then the two murderers, Ts’ui, Mao, with the secondary player (who only did what he was told), pressed the resisting but feeble emperor down on the heated platform, according to Ts’ui’s own account to me which differed slightly from Li Lien-ying’s narrative; partially

again through this news. Summon the Grand Council, also T’ieh Liang and Feng Shan, so that everything may be in order and the accession of the new emperor be promulgated in good time.” Prince Ch’ing had, as usual, thought it expedient to sit on the fence, though back in Peking, but Prince Ch’un, Shih Hsü, Yü Lang, Chang Chih-tung and Yüan Shih-k’ai with T’ieh and Feng as Minister of War and Commander in Chief of the Manchu army respectively (specially summoned for the occasion to the Audience)

rectal intercourse, which on another occasion Her Majesty bade me perform to her. I ceased to remember the disparity of age and my relative indifference to feminine charms and the goddess Aphrodite. Remaining obstinately erect as a ramrod, I manoeuvred again and yet again to the infinite satisfaction of my queen who uttered half audible (but heartfelt) cries of: “So be it. Do it again: you are ravishing tonight.” I blessed Li, the Chief Eunuch, in my heart for his admirable drug and felt as he

the necessary posture on the bench to minister to his needs. Yü refused, and we all backed him up: he was due to appear on the stage in a few minutes and Tsai Chen’s vampire predilections made of him a most formidable operator. The triumvirate forced him to the ground, and I suppose that the inevitable would have happened; but Providence directed to the theatre the censor Chiang Ch’un-lin who afterwards impeached Yüan Shih-k’ai in a secret memorial after the Empress’ assassination at his Yüan’s

delivered to Her Majesty what I thought was a clever, if audacious, reply. “Certainly, Old Buddha: tastes differ: some people like intimacy with devils” (meaning me); “some with saints” (meaning the fox). “You talk in riddles, my child, and have evidently been reading Strange Stories from the Library of My Love. This gentleman is my professor in law but takes an interest in the world of spirits. Come! let us see you gambol with your fairy fox.” She took off all her clothes and displayed

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