Parable as a Tool of Philosophical Persuasion: Yuyan in the Zhuangzi in the Context of Late Warring States Period Chinese Literature

Marcin Jacoby


Yùyán is an important part of the legacy of pre-Qin Chinese literature, and is widely used in persuasive texts of the late Warring States Period. These narratives closely resemble Western parables, especially of the New Testament tradition. The author discusses in detail the history and uses of the term yùyán, and its definitions and interpretations in modern Chinese research, concluding that ‘parable’ seems the closest English-language equivalent of yùyán. The famous philosophical work Zhuāngzǐ is central in this discussion. The author discusses the persuasive function of the parables in Zhuāngzǐ, and points to several distinct features of these narratives compared to other works of the period. These include wide occurrence of purely imaginative texts in a quasi-mythological setting, structural complexity, and the intriguing ‘self-portrait’ of the legendary Zhuāng Zhōu. As such, parables in Zhuāngzǐ should be treated as a distinct group within the wider parable tradition of China, retaining the original name of yùyán
Author Marcin Jacoby (Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych i Społecznych)
Marcin Jacoby,,
- Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych i Społecznych
Journal seriesActa Universitatis Carolinae - Prague Studies in English, ISSN 0567-8269, (C 10 pkt)
Issue year2017
Publication size in sheets0.55
Keywords in EnglishZhuangzi; yuyan; parable; fable; persuasion; pre-Qin literature; Warring States Period literature
Languageen angielski
M. Jacoby Parable as a tool - ART.pdf 510 KB
M. Jacoby Parable as a tool - oswiadczenie.pdf 195.15 KB
Score (nominal)10
Score sourcejournalList
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