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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


From the Metaphor of the Lαozi to the Narrative of the Zhuangzi ──Zhuangzi's Narrative Philosophy and Walter Benjamin's View

Vol. 40 No. 1   06/2010   


From the Metaphor of the Lαozi to the Narrative of the Zhuangzi ──Zhuangzi's Narrative Philosophy and Walter Benjamin's View  


Lai, Hsi -san  









Key words

Zhuangzi, Laozi, Dao, Walter Benjamin, language, metaphor, fable, story, narrative, narrator  


    Generally speaking, Daoism strongly criticizes the power and ideology of language. Dao cannot be spoken about because of its transcendent nature. However, Daoism is not completely negative about language. In my opinion, Daoists exhibit at least four attitudes toward language: (1) absolute silence, (2) poetic metaphor, (3) story narration, and (4) conceptual dialectic. In this paper, I first discuss why and how Laozi uses poetic metaphor to reveal Dao. Second, I explore the process by which Laozi's poetic metaphors are transformed into Zhuangzi's stories. That is to say, the entity of Dao in Laozi becomes stories of seeking Dao in Zhuangzi. Narrative skill is a breakthrough linguistic style in Zhuangzi that did not exist in Laozi. In order to explain the significance of narrative philosophy, this article analyzes Walter Benjamin's insights about narrators and narratives. Finally, I conclude that Zhuangzi and his students are great narrators and the book of Zhuangzi is a collection of stories about Dao.



Author: Lai, Hsi -san
Genre: Article
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