Abstract

This paper discusses various interpretations of the narrative of Hundun’s death which concludes the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi. First, it recapitulates readings of the story from mythological and medicinal as well as from metaphysical and moral perspectives. Then it presents a reading of the story as a satirical parody of failed Confucian and Daoist sages. It is argued that in this way, too, the story addresses medicinal issues of sanity and insanity, albeit from a sociopolitical perspective, and provides insights into a philosophy of “genuine pretending.”

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