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The Commissioned Writing

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Chapter Summary

There are two especial characteristics of Chen Jiru's commissioned writings that are readily demonstrable. The first is Chen's considerable skill as a biographer, a skill that helped ensure his constant success as a writer in great demand in that genre. The second is the way Chen presented themes within the biographies he wrote, to show that he constructed a particular persona of himself as an author and commentator on other people's lives. This persona, as it was presented through commissioned work, can be made clear through one specific type of biography. The analysis presented in this chapter is based on the biographies that appear in eight chapters of Chen's Collected Works, over one hundred biographies in all. The chapter discusses Chen's rhetorical skills, specifically his repeated use of phrases, consistent descriptions for a particular subject or theme, and Chen's noteworthy way of referring to himself in the biographies.

Keywords: Chen Jiru's commissioned writings; Chen's biography; Chen's rhetorical skills

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