1st Edition

The History of Chinese Rhetoric

By Weixiao Wei Copyright 2023
    154 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    154 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book challenges the existing misconception that there was no rhetoric in ancient China. Instead, this book provides ample evidence from public speeches in the Xia dynasty and oracle bone inscriptions in the Shang dynasty to public debates about government policies in the Han dynasty to show that persuasive discourse and rudimentary rhetorical techniques already existed in ancient China.

    Using literary analysis and discourse analysis methods, this book explains how the Mandate of Heaven was inscribed at the core of Chinese rhetoric and has guided Chinese thoughts and expressions for centuries. This book also demonstrates Chinese rhetorical wisdom by extracting many concepts and terms related to language expression, persuasive speech, morality and virtue, life and philosophy, and so on from great Chinese literary works. Well-known names, such as Confucius, Laozi, Sima Qian, Liu Xie, Mozi, Hanfeizi, Guibuzi and so on, are all touched upon with their famous theory and sayings related to and explicated from the rhetorical perspective. Many surprising facts are found by the author and revealed in the book. For example, a thousand years ago, the Chinese author Liu Xie already found that all words have preferred lexical neighbors and structural environment. This is later on ‘discovered’ by corpus linguistics and illustrated, for example, by the concepts of collocation and pattern grammar.

    This book targets postgraduate students, teachers, researchers and scholars interested in advanced Chinese language and Chinese literature, history, and culture.


    Chapter 1. Rhetoric in the West versus Xiuci in Chinese history

    Chapter 2. Rhetoric of OBI and Inscriptions on Bronzes in Shang–Western Zhou (1600–771 BC)

    Chapter 3. Rhetoric of the Eastern Zhou (770–256 BC)

    Chapter 4. Rhetoric of Han–Jin Dynasties

    Chapter 5. Rhetoric of Tang–Song Dynasties

    Chapter 6. Yuan–Ming–Qing Dynasties



    Weixiao Wei has been working with Taiyuan University of Technology as a lecturer at the College of Foreign Languages and Literatures for nine years since she obtained her MA degree in 2010. In July 2017, she obtained a visiting scholarship from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to visit Swansea University, UK, for a year. Since then, she has published a monograph and five book chapters with Routledge. In addition to preparing research papers and edited volumes for further publication, she has been pursuing her PhD study in rhetoric and composition at the University of Houston since 2020.