Fictive questions in the Zhuangzi

A cognitive rhetorical study

ORCID logoMingjian Xiang | Nanjing Tech University
ISBN 9789027213792 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
ISBN 9789027250032 | EUR 110.00 | USD 165.00
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Rhetoric is intimately related to interaction and cognition. This book explores the cognitive underpinnings of rhetoric by presenting a case study of the rhetorical use of interactional structures, namely expository questions and rhetorical questions, in the classical Chinese tradition. Such questions are generally meant to evoke silent answers in the addressee’s mind, thereby involving a fictive type of interaction. The book analyzes fictive questions as intersubjective mixed viewpoint constructions, involving a viewpoint blend of the perspectives of the writer, the assumed prospective readers, and possibly also that of the discourse characters. The analysis further shows that in addition to attention, other late developing human capacities such as mental simulation and perspective taking also have a pivotal role to play in rhetoric, on the basis of which a simulation-based rhetorical model of persuasion is proposed to account for meaning construction in rhetorical practices. The book will influence our understanding of rhetorical practices outside the Western tradition but within the framework of cognitive semantics.
[Figurative Thought and Language, 18] 2023.  xiii, 206 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“This terrific book boldly goes where no other book has gone before. While we have an important and growing body of scholarly literature on Chinese rhetorical theory and practice, and a growing literature that tries to engage rhetoric and argumentation from the perspective of cognitive science, I know of no other work that brings these two lines of thinking into conversation. The result is an innovative, creative, and productive work that not only adds to our understanding of rhetorical theory, but provides a generative reading of an important and interesting philosophical text, the Zhuangzi, along with its use of expository and rhetorical questions. This book will be of interest to scholars in a variety of disciplines, including linguistics, rhetoric, Chinese philosophy, and literary analysis.”
“Readers of this book will be treated to a rich feast of new information and insights grounded in, but not confined to, the emergent and flourishing analytic framework of fictive interaction. Mingjian Xiang introduces us to one of the foundational texts of Daoist philosophy, the Zhuangzi, and presents a closely argued qualitative and quantitative analysis of the deployment in the text of fictive questions. The author also explores, and shares insights into, the specific grammatical features of Classical Chinese relevant to the pragmatics of rhetorical usage, as well as the relationship between oral and written textual transmission. This book is an outstandingly original contribution both to the comparative study of cognitive rhetorics, and to the literature supporting and elucidating the fundamentally interactional basis of language and linguistics.”
“Superb in theoretical sophistication and historical insight, this brilliant, highly-readable book analyzes conversational structures in ancient texts, particularly the Zhuangzi, in which the conversation is not meant to be taken as a literal exchange; rather, it is a fictive conversation: an imaginative, intricate, compressed conceptual blend, built for stunning rhetorical effect. Xiang, a master of linguistics and rhetoric, takes the reader on an exploration of rhetorical constructions in reality, fiction, and fictivity. This book is a masterpiece.”
“As a lifelong devotee of the Zhuangzi, I am impressed by the startling new insights that the author has brought to this ancient Daoist text. While firmly grounded in philological rigor and philosophical precision, Fictive questions opens up entire vistas of understanding premised upon close rhetorical reading that have hitherto never been applied to the "goblet words" of the playful Warring States thinker.”
“The Zhuangzi raises more questions than it answers — and that’s no failing. Mingjian Xiang investigates the process of questioning both syntactically and thematically, showing how expository and rhetorical questions participate in the creation of a shared space of interaction where characters, narrator, and reader meet and determine the laws of sometimes quite bizarre worlds. The subtlety of his analyses of such “blending” is laudable and brings clarity to what earlier readers often deemed mere verbal excess.”

Main BIC Subject

CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Main BISAC Subject

ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2023009153 | Marc record