François Jullien suggests that the tradition of indirect writing (l’écriture indirecte) exists both in China and the West. In China, the tradition of Bi-Xing (explicit comparison and implicit comparision) originated from The Book of Songs forms the indirect way of expressing emotion in poetry. Such way of expression combined with other original categories of Chinese poetics contributes to the “alterity” of the Chinese literary tradition by creating an “allusivity” in the text. Its Western counterpart is found in symbolism, which nevertheless showcases the heterogeneity between traditional Chinese and Western poetics. Chinese lexical equivalent to “indirect writing” is wanyan (indirect words), a concept rooted in the tradition of Bi-Xing, especially Xing. This essay proposes that Bi-Xing and symbolism are two original parallel concepts in Chinese and Western poetic traditions, between which a Sino-Western dialogue on poetic discourses is made possible.


hanxu (allusivity), bi-xing (explicit-implicit comparison), symbolism, indirect writing, François Jullien

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