Humour as rhetorical discourse in ancient Chinese philosophy: the works of Mencius

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Commonly perceived as an art of persuasion for the purpose of changing thought and action at social, political and individual levels, rhetoric plays a significant role in different cultures through representation of the power and impact of language (Vickers 1988; Jensen 1987). Recent scholarship generally accepts that rhetorical practices are universally shared, though with culturally specific experiences and conceptualisation (Lü 1998). In their artistic use of oral and written expression, Chinese rhetorical experience, expressions and conceptualisation offers a body of knowledge and practice that deserves attention and investigation. Classical and traditional texts show a rhetorical tradition that can be both diverse and unique in depicting human experience via the formulation and use of language and symbols, including irony, humour and satire. This chapter will contribute to the study of such humorous techniques in rhetorical discourse in the ancient Chinese philosophical text Mengzi 孟子 (The works of Mencius).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHumour in Asian cultures
Subtitle of host publicationtradition and context
EditorsJessica Milner Davis
Place of PublicationSingapore ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Publication statusSubmitted - Sep 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies on Asia in the World


  • rhetoric
  • humour
  • Chinese philosophy
  • Confucianism
  • Chinese literature
  • Chinese language


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