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294 China Review International: Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1994 kangyi zitai: Shanghai shengyu si yu Xue se huang hun" (Two forms of protest against the Cultural Revolution: Life and Death in Shanghai and A Bloody Evening), Dushu, May 1989: 59-66. 8. The concept is Hayden White's (see Metahistory [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973]. Unlike White, who examines the classics of European historical thought, I am more concerned here with popular reading of events leading to the relaxation of the conXict between East and West in the 1980s. The general sense of hope that existed in the West toward the latter half of the decade, epitomized by political catchwords such as "A New World Order," has now been proven false, but the master narrative, with its upbeat conclusion predicting political freedom in China, is no doubt still very appealing to Western readers. See Benedict Anderson, "The New World Disorder," New Left Review 193 (May/June 1992): 3-13. F Zhang Longxi. The Tao and the Logos: Literary Hermeneutics, East and West. Durham: Duke University Press, 1992. xx, 230 pp. Hardcover, $35.00. Paperback, $16.95. This is an important book, and makes a scholarly contribution in three ways: (1) as an exploration in comparative poetics, (2) as an exemplification of sound methodology in comparing Chinese literary and philosophical texts with Western, and (3) as a syncretic excursion into contemporary literary theory that draws on a familiarity not only with the Western tradition but with the Chinese. Comparative poetics is a burgeoning new field, with wide-ranging ramifications for cultural studies, literary theory, "international" deconstructionism, and cross-cultural scholarship. Few are equipped to venture into this area, which requires not only a background in both literature and philosophy in the West, but a comparable familiarity with a counterpart non-Western tradition. Most successful forays in this area reflect both a rigorous analytical method and a powerful intuition . The Tao and the Logos is a significant analysis of the conceptual premises that undergird the thinking of poets and fheorists in China and the West. It provides a careful exploration of texts in their intellectual and philosophical context and constitutes a conscientious effort to situate literature and literary theory in a philosophical and cosmological framework. Its merit is that it successfully avoids the egregious faults of some cross-cultural studies, which eitiier impose a Western© 2994 by University theoretical cast to the questions posed (thereby skewing the consequent insights), ofHawai'i Pressor ignore methodology altogether (thereby producing vapid comparisons that neglect the fundamental differences in the governing paradigms of thought in each Reviews 295 culture). Zhang's analysis is marked with an impressive range of reference, intellectual rigor, and telling insight. In developing his thesis for a methodologically sound East-West poetics, Zhang exemplifies the best in comparative analysis, invariably choosing the apt example and providing astute and nuanced readings of individual texts. He exemplifies good comparative practice. His readings pass one litmus test of sound methodology: Aiat the comparison illuminate each text in its own right. Thus, examples are cited not merely as corroborations: they are explored in a new perspective . Familiar texts are seen afresh in the new radiance of a different point of view, in the conjunction of a new frame of reference. His readings of Rilke and of a poem by Li Shangyin are particularly memorable. His analyses of Shakespeare are solid and unpretentious; they are, however, extremely apposite to his thesis, and illuminating in themselves. His account of Zhuangzi, Tao Qian, and Wang Wei goes over ground that may be familiar to specialists in Chinese literature. But his approach—reading these texts through the models of interpretation advanced by Heidegger (and, above all, Gadamer)—is refreshing. It is in the area of hermeneutic theory and practice that Zhang makes his best contribution. He applies modern philosophical and literary theory to texts, Chinese and Western, and helpfully details for us how hermeneutics has been practiced in both China and the West. His development of hermeneutics as a crosscultural , bias-free (because—deconstructively—bias-acknowledging) approach provides exciting new vistas for comparative study. The establishment ofliterary hermeneutics as a transcultural methodology is an important point of departure...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 294-297
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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