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The readability of the past in early Chinese historiography

Author: Wai-yee Li
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Asia Center : Distributed by Harvard University Press, 2007.
Series: Harvard East Asian monographs, 253.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"The past becomes readable when we can tell stories and make arguments about it. It is when we can tell more than one story or make divergent arguments that the readability of the past becomes an issue. Therein lies the beginning of history, the sense of inquiry that heightens our awareness of the grounds for interpretation. How do interpretive structures develop and disintegrate? What are the possibilities and  Read more...
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Details

Named Person: Ming Zuoqiu
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Wai-yee Li
ISBN: 9780674017771 0674017773
OCLC Number: 123232416
Description: xii, 449 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents: Rhetoric and Power 4 --
Keywords 14 --
Mapping Divergences 24 --
1 Competing Lessons 29 --
Heterogeneity and Sedimentation in the Zuozhuan 33 --
The Example of Lord Zhuang of Zheng 59 --
2 Signs and Causality 85 --
Signs and Chronology 86 --
Small Beginnings 92 --
Exemplarity 105 --
Music 118 --
Women 147 --
Narratives of Interpretation 160 --
3 The Reading of Signs 172 --
Traces 173 --
Gestures 178 --
Numinous Signs 190 --
Inconstant Spirits and Equivocal Signs 202 --
Divination 209 --
Dreams of Interpretation 233 --
4 The Manipulation of Signs 249 --
Discourse of Hegemony 254 --
The Counternarrative of Hegemony 295 --
5 The Anxiety of Interpretation 321 --
Visions of Decline 343 --
Uses of the Past 371 --
Rules of Reading 397 --
Afterthoughts: The Capture of the Lin and the Birth of Historiography 411.
Series Title: Harvard East Asian monographs, 253.
Responsibility: Wai-yee Li.
More information:

Abstract:

"The past becomes readable when we can tell stories and make arguments about it. It is when we can tell more than one story or make divergent arguments that the readability of the past becomes an issue. Therein lies the beginning of history, the sense of inquiry that heightens our awareness of the grounds for interpretation. How do interpretive structures develop and disintegrate? What are the possibilities and limits of historical knowledge, or the scope and meaning of skepticism?" "This book explores these issues through a study of the Zuozhuan, a foundational text in the Chinese tradition, whose rhetorical and analytical self-consciousness reveals much about the contending ways of thought unfolding during the period of the text's formation (ca. 4th. c. BCE). But in what sense is this vast collection of narratives and speeches covering the period from 722 to 468 BCE "historical"? If one can speak of an emergent sense of history in this text, Wai-yee Li argues, it lies precisely at the intersection of varying conceptions of interpretation and rhetoric brought to bear on the past, within a larger context of competing solutions to the instability and disintegration represented through the events of the 255 years covered by the Zuozhuan. Even as its accounts of proliferating disorder and disintegration challenge the boundaries of readability, the deliberations on the rules of reading in the Zuozhuan probe the dimensions of historical self-consciousness."--Jacket.

Table of Contents:

by Werner (WorldCat user on 2008-02-06)

INTRODUCTION -- Rhetoric and Power; Keywords; Mapping Divergences -- 1. COMPETING LESSONS -- Heterogeneity and Sedimentation in the Zuozhuan, The Example of Lord Zhuang of Zheng -- 2. SIGNS AND CAUSALITY -- Signs and Chronology; Small Beginnings; Exemplarity; Music; Women; Narratives of Interpretation -- 3. THE READING OF SIGNS -- Traces; Gestures; Numinous Signs; Inconstant Spirits and Equivocal Signs; Divination; Dreams of Interpretation -- 4. THE MANIPULATION OF SIGNS -- Discourse of Hegemony; The Counternarrative of Hegemony -- 5. THE ANXIETY OF INTERPRETATION AFTERTHOUGHTS: The Capture of the Lin and the Birth of Historiography -- Works Cited -- Index

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