Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece

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Overview

In what way do we benefit from speaking of things indirectly? How does such a distancing allow us better to discover -- and describe -- people and objects? How does distancing produce an effect? What can we gain from approaching the world obliquely? In other words, how does detour grant access?Thus begins Francois Jullien's investigation into the strategy, subtlety, and production of meaning in ancient and modern Chinese aesthetic and political texts and events. Moving between the rhetorical traditions of ancient Greece and China, Jullien does not attempt a simple comparison of the two civilizations. Instead, he uses the perspective provided by each to gain access into a culture considered by many Westerners to be strange -- "It's all Chinese to me" -- and whose strangeness has been eclipsed through the assumption of its familiarity. He also uses the comparison to shed light on the role of Greek thinking in Western civilization.Jullien rereads the major texts of Chinese thought -- The Book of Songs, Confucius's Analects, and the work of Mencius and Lao-Tse. He addresses the question of oblique, indirect, and allusive meaning in order to explore how the techniques of detour provide access to subtler meanings than are attainable through direct approaches. Indirect speech, Jullien concludes, yields a complex mode of indication, open to multiple perspectives and variations, infinitely adaptable to particular situations and contexts.
Concentrating on that which is not said, or which is spoken only through other means, Jullien traces the benefits and costs of this rhetorical strategy in which absolute truth is absent.

Zone Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890951115
  • Publisher: Zone Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 1,334,376
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

François Jullien is Professor at the Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot and director at the
Institut de la Pensée Contemporaine. He is the author of Detour and Access: Strategies of
Meaning in China and Greece, The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in
China,
and In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and
Aesthetics
all published by Zone Books.
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Table of Contents

Preface 7
Reader's Guide 11
I "He's Chinese," "It's All Chinese to Me" 15
II Frontal Versus Oblique Attack 35
III Under the Cover of the Image: Insinuated Criticism 55
IV Quotations as Proxy: The Power to Unsettle 75
V Insinuating and Avoiding to Say, or How to Read Between the Lines 93
VI The Impossibility of Dissidence (The Ideology of Indirection) 117
VII Between Emotion and Landscape: The World Is Not an Object of Representation 141
VIII Beyond the Landscape: The Figurative Meaning Is Not Symbolic 165
IX From the Master to the Disciple: The Proposition Is Only an Indication 195
X There Is No Plane of Essences, or Why Detour Is Access 223
XI Advancing Toward Maturation: The Leap of Realization 249
XII The Great Image Has No Shape, or How to Indicate the Ineffable 275
XIII "Net" and "Fish," or How to Gain Access to Nature 305
XIV The Clouds and the Moon 333
XV The Allusive Distance 355
Conclusion: Detour or Split? 371
Notes 381
Glossary of Chinese Expressions 415
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