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What is rhetoric anyway? Briared in words in Early China


Indraccolo, Lisa (2014). What is rhetoric anyway? Briared in words in Early China. Asiatische Studien, 68(1):331-341.

Abstract

The present article explores the applicability of the term “rhetoric” in a non-Western context and, in particular, the legitimacy of such an attempt in the case of Early China, where the Warring States period is traditionally considered as the golden age of early Chinese “rhetoric”. The pre-imperial and early imperial received literature provides good evidence for the employment of a well-established and clearly defined set of argumentative techniques in everyday political practice in ancient China. No handbook on such techniques has been handed down, and a proper term to define them as part of a broader, more structured activity that could match Western “rhetoric” does not appear until the medieval period. The article argues, however, that by applying a more fluid concept of “rhetoric” and by extending its scope beyond and across cultural boundaries it is not only possible but also legitimate to a certain extent to talk about a rhetorical tradition in the case of ancient China as well.

The present article explores the applicability of the term “rhetoric” in a non-Western context and, in particular, the legitimacy of such an attempt in the case of Early China, where the Warring States period is traditionally considered as the golden age of early Chinese “rhetoric”. The pre-imperial and early imperial received literature provides good evidence for the employment of a well-established and clearly defined set of argumentative techniques in everyday political practice in ancient China. No handbook on such techniques has been handed down, and a proper term to define them as part of a broader, more structured activity that could match Western “rhetoric” does not appear until the medieval period. The article argues, however, that by applying a more fluid concept of “rhetoric” and by extending its scope beyond and across cultural boundaries it is not only possible but also legitimate to a certain extent to talk about a rhetorical tradition in the case of ancient China as well.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 68 (2014) > 1
08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
290 Other religions
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:03 Oct 2014 12:13
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/asia-2014-0019
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-99240

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