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Perverse Reverse

Reagan Louie's Exoticism

BY DORYUN CHONG

Victor Segalen's René Leys, published posthumously in 1922 after the author's mysterious death, is recently enjoying a revival from obscurity. In this novel that takes the form of a personal journal written between March and November, 1911, a Frenchman in Beijing, who is also the author's namesake, obsessively dreams about penetrating into the "within" - dedans - of the Forbidden City, a fantasy vicariously fulfilled via the proxy of his tutor in Chinese, the novel's titular character. Though a mere teenager, this youthful Belgian…

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