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Fuller Chapter 26- Chuang Tzu Text Question


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My question pertains to Fuller, Chapter 26, presenting three selections from Chuang Tzu, the first being the opening. Reading through this first selection, I’ve been impressed by the remarkably distinct style; it’s a clearly styled “written” text. I was also struck by its internal repetitions. Its sections seem to go like this (approximately):

1. Kun/P’eng

2. Spilled water

3. Cicada and bird on limitations of flying

4. Discussion of scale (mushrooms, etc.)

5. Kun/P’eng

6. Bird on limitations of flying

7. Sun Jung Tzu

8. Lieh Tzu

1/3 and 5/6 present pretty much identical ideas, and even have identical phrasing. It seems to me entirely unnecessary to repeat so much material, and even repeat an entire anecdote (6) with the same point as 3. It’s also odd to have such repetition within such close proximity of the two parts (1/3 and 5/6). The speculation that comes to my mind is that these represent two different documents which were at some point edited into a common text.

So this leads me to two questions.

First, has anyone else ever commented on this repetition or offered an interpretation of it?

Second, can anyone recommend articles which analyze the stylistic aspects of Chuang Tzu, as distinct from its philological aspects? Something like what Patrick Hanan did for some much later Chinese writers.

Many thanks in advance to all; I’ve tremendously enjoyed the discussions here. As soon as I can enter Chinese text, I look forward to contributing.

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Welcome to these forums!

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any research into these aspects of the text specifically, but it's been a while since I did any reading on the 莊子. I'm sure something will have been written on it, though, given the sheer vastness of the amount of literature on the 莊子. Have a look at some of the following works. They may or may not discuss this specific issue, but they certainly contain lots of references to other books and articles on the 莊子 which may be of interest to you.

Victor H. Mair, ed. 1983. Experimental Essays on Chuang-tzu. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Graham, A.C. 1981. Chuang-tzu: the Seven Inner Chapters and other writings from the book "Chuang-tzu". Londen [etc]: Allen & Unwin.

Graham, A.C. 1986. Studies in Chinese Philosophy & Philosophical Literature. Singapore: Institute of East Asian Philosophies.

My annotated copy of the 莊子 is in a box somewhere, but if you have any questions on the classical Chinese text or its interpretation, or if you want to share any thoughts, feel free to post them here! I'll see if I can dig up my 莊子...

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snip

I'm perusing Mair as I write (Fuller also mentions it) and will try to inter-library the Grahams. Thanks very much! I'm almost at the end of my journey in Fuller; next month I'll start Rouzer, who towards the end has a big slug of Chuang Tzu. Chiang's language of the Dragon (Vol. 2) also covers the same Chuang Tzu material as Fuller, but with very good grammar notes. But nothing on interpretation/analysis. Still, I'm grateful to anyone who glosses a text and saves me dictionary time!

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I don't know where you are based, but if a nearby library has a copy of the annotated reader 莊子讀本 published by 三民書局 in 台北, see if you can get hold of it. It probably won't contain the interpretation or analysis you are looking for, but its glosses are useful and will save you a lot of time. They're in Mandarin.

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I don't know where you are based, but if a nearby library has a copy of the annotated reader 莊子讀本 published by 三民書局 in 台北, see if you can get hold of it. It probably won't contain the interpretation or analysis you are looking for, but its glosses are useful and will save you a lot of time. They're in Mandarin.

I face I have the very same edition! It's helpful for glosses, and I like the colloquial re-telling of the text. Not really the particular approach I was looking for, but still very helpful. I live in the states after a long sojourn in Taiwan, and will be visiting later this year. Looking forward to bringing back a lot of books!

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Kobo-Daishi

Dear Vecna,

I'm almost at the end of my journey in Fuller; next month I'll start Rouzer, who towards the end has a big slug of Chuang Tzu.

Are you doing this as a part of a course or as self-study?

Still, I'm grateful to anyone who glosses a text and saves me dictionary time!

I thought you had an annotated copy of the Chuang Tzu. Don't they have copious amounts of notes following the original text filled with glosses for practically every character/word that might have a different meaning from modern Chinese?

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

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Kobo-D., many thanks for writing.

Indeed, I am doing this on my own. It's a long-term project. I studied Classical years ago in grad school, and am retrieving it now so I can enjoy it later in life. Back when I studied it there were no real textbooks (unless you count stuff like Dawson's primer); having a few books like Fuller and Rouzer and Chiang and Wang is excellent.

You're quite correct that my San-min edition of Chuang Tzu has lots of notes. I think the benefit I was referring to was of course glossed words (for many textual selections other than Chuang Tzu) but also explanations of the syntax and function words. Chiang in particular is great at this.

How have your own studies been progressing?

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Kobo-Daishi

Dear Vecna,

Indeed, I am doing this on my own. It's a long-term project. I studied Classical years ago in grad school, and am retrieving it now so I can enjoy it later in life.

I read somewhere on another forum that it's really quite difficult to get a class going at some universities in the West because of a lack of interest among students for literary Chinese.

A lot of times the course might be listed on the schedule but then cancelled because of this lack of interest.

There doesn't seem to be this problem with modern Chinese, though. At the beginner level at any rate.

So how large was the class size when you took the literary Chinese course?

How have your own studies been progressing?

Oh, I don't really do literary Chinese.

I never even took any university Chinese courses.

I did take about a year and a half of Mandarin Chinese back in high school.

Nowadays, I do it more as a hobby.

Occasionally, I'll read some of the posts on literary Chinese but I don't have any of those books you mentioned on the subject. No Fuller, Rouzer, Chiang, or Wang.

I do have an illegal pirate copy of Pulleybank gained off the Internet.

Not that I ever read it through.

All that grammar stuff.

Copula?

Stative verb?

I mean, I barely know what a noun and a verb is in English. (Thanks to Schoolhouse Rock. A three minute educational segment between cartoons on American television back in the day.)

I do enjoy what some of the others have written at the forum though. What Daan, Chrix and to a lesser extent, Gato, have written.

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

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