Reviews 193 having moral codes is to legitimate power, this reveals to us Warner's real bête noir, one she shares with so many modern intellectuals: any claim to permanent standards and norms. She wishes to enlist Wang Ji on the side of those who help to liberate us all by "deconstructing" all structures of order. Warner thus shows herself to be a disciple of the moment, of the "postmodernist" fascination with undermining and subverting any claim to permanent truth. Was that really Wang Ji's position? Was he really manipulating his poetic skill to drive home such a doctrine? Or is this book in the end yet another mirror masquerading as a window, so that the reader of today, thinking that he is seeing into another world, is in fact seeing only his own face--or his own facelessness? To give her the benefit of the doubt, Warner, like other scholars of her obvious talent, has been steered in the wrong direction. We should let them be themselves again, get back in touch with mere common sense, once again to undertake the only true exploration of scholarship, the search for the truth. Jonathan Chaves Jonathan Chaves is professor of Chinese,
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jan 18, 2004
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