Serial Fu Manchu
The Chinese Supervillain and the Spread of Yellow Peril Ideology
Publication Year: 2013
In the series Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ
Published by: Temple University Press
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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright
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Like most other books, this one was not written in ingenious isola-tion. it took shape in conversations in offices and hallways, in coffee shops and wine bars, at dining tables and on sofas; it was fine-tuned at conferences and workshops, many of which included the same groups of people; and it took flight in the virtual spaces of digital scholars’ net-works and other electronic discussion sites. Bits and pieces of this book were continuously floating around somewhere—presented, submitted, ...
Chapter 1. Going Serial: Fu Manchu, the Yellow Peril, and the Machinic Momentum of Ideology
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There was a time when Fu Manchu was everywhere and everybody seemed to know him. those days are over. today, the Chinese mas-ter criminal who emblematized the yellow peril from 1913 to the 1970s is almost forgotten. like his popular cultural counterpart Charlie Chan, the embarrassingly harmless Chinese detective, Fu Manchu lost his powerful position in transatlantic popular culture; at best, people recall the mustache. some may have vague memories of Christopher lee reruns ...
Chapter 2. Enter Fu Manchu: The Transatlantic Preriodical Press and the Circulation of Stories and Things
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Fu Manchu enters the world of literature without making an actual appearance. the stand-alone story “the Zayat Kiss” (The Story-Teller, 1912; Collier’s, 1913) counts as the first Fu Manchu story, and indeed there is much talk in it of the mysterious Chinese doctor who poses a threat to the survival “of the entire white race” (stedman, n.d.). the story also contains arguably the most popular passage sax rohmer ever wrote, conjuring up the villain’s superhuman capacities (“imagine ...
Chapter 3. Image Power: Seriality, Iconicity, and the Filmic Fu Manchus of the 1930s
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In 1930, after twelve years of abstinence from the Fu Manchu storyline, sax rohmer resuscitated his serial figure. the decision may have had to do with the fact that rohmer had financial problems throughout the 1920s and that in 1929 the first sound film featuring Fu Manchu (The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu) had appeared and had done very well at the box office, attesting to an unabated public demand for yellow peril fare. it may also have been related to the fact that control over the figure was slip-...
Chapter 4. Machinic Fu Manchu: Popular Seriality and the Logic of Spread
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In the 1910s and 1920s, the serial figure of Fu Manchu established itself. in the early 1930s, it became iconic when hollywood forged Fu Man-chu’s definitive “look” with The Mask of Fu Manchu. And between the 1930s and the 1970s, in what i call the figure’s classical phase, its serial spread increased exponentially. the dynamics of this development mani-fest themselves particularly forcefully when read against later enactments of the figure, around the turn of the twenty-first century. in 2009, Gary ...
Chapter 5. Evil Chinamen: Yellow Peril Comics and the Ideological Work of Popular Seriality
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Perhaps no medium is better suited to the dispersal and dissemi-nation of the serial figure than the comic. the 1930s brought the medium into its own, because new modes of production and distri-bution allowed for new narratives and new formats that were no longer conceived as mere sideshows or complementary add-ons but now con-stituted the main attraction. in its so-called Golden Age, between the 1930s and the 1940s, the comic strip went serial. At the same time, the ...
Chapter 6. The End of the Assembly Line: Seriality, Ideology, and Popular Culture
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Fu Manchu is multiply serial, a figure of spread and sprawl that has fanned out into so many variants that the figure’s many actual-izations could not possibly all cohabit the same fictional universe or draw on the same committing story logic. the figure made its way through the twentieth century by latching on to whatever medium was most up-to-date at any given time, crossing over and branching out wher-ever a point of entry opened up or a pathway revealed itself. it gained ...
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About the Author, Further Reading
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...ruth mayer holds the chair in American studies at leibniz University of hannover, Germany. she is the coeditor of Trans-Pacific Interactions: The United States and China, 1880–1950, and Chinatowns in a Trans-Antonio t. tiongson Jr., edgardo V. Gutierrez, and ricardo V. Gutierrez, eds., Positively No Filipinos Allowed: Building Communities and Discourse...
Page Count: 260
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Asian American History & Cultu
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth