trans. Arthur Goldhammer (New York: Zone Books, 2007), 170 pp. In recent years, FranÃ§ois Jullien has come to be regarded as among the most provocative Western interpreters of traditional Chinese thought, bringing his sophisticated training in philosophical method to bear on his reading of the Chinese texts. Each of his best books tends to focus on a single Chinese concept: La propension des choses (1992) on shi (the âdynamic configurationsâ of a given situation or power structure) and Ãloge de la fadeur (1991) on dan (a prized quality of understatement in aesthetics and in personal relations, infelicitously translated in the English version of this excellent work as âblandnessâ). In this latest slim volume to appear in English, Jullien applies the same approach to the crucial Chinese notion of yang-sheng (ânourishingâ or, perhaps better, ânurturingâ life), as expressed in the classic writings of the shadowy Daoist thinker Zhuangzi (4 â 3 c. BCE) and the âNeo-Daoistâ savant Xi Kang (3 c. CE). Jullienâs rambling meditation on the uncategorical immediacy of Daoist wisdom is remarkably compelling as a revelation of his own personal philosophy of life, less so as a reliable reading of the Chinese texts, which he tends to
Common Knowledge – Duke University Press
Published: Oct 1, 2008
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