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The Natural Imagery in the Zhuangzi: A Preliminary Study

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image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

This essay presents a preliminary examination of the use of natural imagery in the Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi. The essay analyzes the characteristics of this imagery and the possible reasons for Zhuangzi’s particular use of fantastic language, exaggeration, and fiction in connection with natural images. In doing so, I also compare the Zhuangzi with several important classical Chinese and Greek texts. In addition, I explore the possible motivations for and influence exerted by Zhuangzi’s use of natural imagery. The essay aims to demonstrate that an analysis of the roles played by natural imagery in the Zhuangzi contributes significantly to our understanding of the work as a whole, as well as its abiding influence on later works.


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