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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book The Huainanzi and Textual Production in Early China. The Huainanzi, a compendium of knowledge covering numerous subjects, from self-cultivation, astronomy, and calendrics to the arts of government and the importance of education, is both a product and a reflection of the intellectual ferment of the early Han period. The book discusses issues of authorship and textual formation, asking who wrote the Huainanzi's twenty-one chapters and how the work of composition was accomplished. Judson Murray describes how the Huainanzi is situated in the rhetoric of 'flesh and bone', arguing that this rhetoric was employed to further the specific political goals of Liu An, who hoped to see his kingdom survive in an age of escalating centralization. Judson Murray argues that the Huainanzi is fundamentally concerned with the imperial family and its family relations.

Keywords: Early China; early Han period; Huainanzi; Judson Murray; Liu An; textual formation



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