Paul van Els and Sarah A. Queen, eds., Between History and Philosophy: Anecdotes in Early China (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2017). ISBN: 978-1-4384-6611-8.
The hardcover version will be out very soon; the Kindle and other eBook versions are already available. For more information, see the SUNY website:
Information about the book and its cover (including a sharper image) is also available at Paul’s website:
Summary and Table of Contents follows.
Between History and Philosophy is the first book-length study in English to focus on the rhetorical functions and forms of anecdotal narratives in early China. Edited by Paul van Els and Sarah A. Queen, this volume advances the thesis that anecdotes—brief, freestanding accounts of single events involving historical figures, and occasionally also unnamed persons, animals, objects, or abstractions—served as an essential tool of persuasion and meaning-making within larger texts. Contributors to the volume analyze the use of anecdotes from the Warring States Period to the Han Dynasty, including their relations to other types of narrative, their circulation and reception, and their central position as a mode of argumentation in a variety of historical and philosophical literary genres.
Paul van Els is University Lecturer of China Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and the author of The Wenzi: Creation, Manipulation, and Reception of a Chinese Philosophical Text. Sarah A. Queen is Professor of History at Connecticut College and the coeditor (with Michael Puett) of The Huainanzi and Textual Production in Early China.
Table of Contents
Anecdotes in Early China
Part I. Anecdotes, Argumentation, and Debate
1. Non-deductive Argumentation in Early Chinese Philosophy
2. The Frontier between Chen and Cai: Anecdote, Narrative, and Philosophical Argumentation in Early China
3. Mozi as a Daoist Sage? An Intertextual Analysis of the “Gongshu” Anecdote in the Mozi
Part II. Anecdotes and Textual Formation
5. Anecdote Collections as Argumentative Texts: The Composition of the Shuoyuan
6. From Villains Outwitted to Pedants Out-Wrangled: The Function of Anecdotes in the Shifting Rhetoric of the Han Feizi
Part III. Anecdotes and History
8. History without Anecdotes: Between the Zuozhuan and the Xinian Manuscript
9. Cultural Memory and Excavated Anecdotes in “Documentary” Narrative: Mediating Generic Tensions in the Baoxun Manuscript
10. Old Stories No Longer Told: The End of the Anecdotes Tradition of Early China