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Traveling sayings as carriers of philosophical debate: From the intertextuality of the * Yucong 語叢 to the dynamics of cultural memory and authorship in Early China


Krijgsman, Rens (2014). Traveling sayings as carriers of philosophical debate: From the intertextuality of the * Yucong 語叢 to the dynamics of cultural memory and authorship in Early China. Asiatische Studien, 68(1):83-115.

Abstract

This article presents an analysis and a typology of traveling sayings
commonly encountered in Early Chinese texts. Building on examples from both
excavated and transmitted texts, and focusing on the Guodian * Yucong 1–3 in
particular, it argues that some of these sayings travel from text to text because
they were more likely to be remembered and transmitted than others. Much like
the Wanderanekdote and lines from the Odes, these traveling sayings appear in
alternated form across a variety of early texts. They were remembered because
they provide a brief, highly structured and esthetically pleasing expression of an
important philosophical problem. As a common resource in the cultural memory
of Early China, traveling sayings were adapted to meet different argumentative
agendas and tapped into a wide network of remembered, intertextual, associations
to imbue them with meaning. I argue that the different ways in which these
sayings were integrated into arguments, either through adaptation or by using
definitions, reveal differences in interpretive strategy and changes in the mode
in which early authors engaged with cultural memory. The paper concludes
with implications for the study of early collections and the conceptualization of
authorship and audience in Early China.

This article presents an analysis and a typology of traveling sayings
commonly encountered in Early Chinese texts. Building on examples from both
excavated and transmitted texts, and focusing on the Guodian * Yucong 1–3 in
particular, it argues that some of these sayings travel from text to text because
they were more likely to be remembered and transmitted than others. Much like
the Wanderanekdote and lines from the Odes, these traveling sayings appear in
alternated form across a variety of early texts. They were remembered because
they provide a brief, highly structured and esthetically pleasing expression of an
important philosophical problem. As a common resource in the cultural memory
of Early China, traveling sayings were adapted to meet different argumentative
agendas and tapped into a wide network of remembered, intertextual, associations
to imbue them with meaning. I argue that the different ways in which these
sayings were integrated into arguments, either through adaptation or by using
definitions, reveal differences in interpretive strategy and changes in the mode
in which early authors engaged with cultural memory. The paper concludes
with implications for the study of early collections and the conceptualization of
authorship and audience in Early China.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 68 (2014) > 1
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:03 Oct 2014 11:37
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:24
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft; Verlag Peter Lang AG
ISSN:0004-4717
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-99229

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