Hongbing Sha


Ancient Chinese literary criticism pursues the effect of subtle rhetoric not only in its subject, namely the literary products it critiques, but also in the criticism itself. Whether it is to face the political power or the pressure on literature to fulfill its social functions, or to express literary propensity, views and evaluations, the use of subtle rhetoric in literary criticism is a strategic response that avoids pressure and cultivates profound meaning. Subtle rhetoric is applied in various complex literary relationships and presents rich forms of expression: it conveys subtle meaning through careful selection of materials and wording as well as other “writing techniques”; it takes a circuitous route to express emotions via allusions, compilations, collections, annotations, and comments as reference; it also employs juxtapositions of critiques and eulogies scattered in various literary resources as well as satirical ironies. In the long run, the appropriate interpretation of the deep and subtle meaning of literary criticism based on the broad social psychological expectations requires an open discussion among the community of critics.


subtle and implicit rhetoric;allusion with implicit and oblique expression;praise and criticism via minor events;intertextual interpretation;implied discipline via eulogy

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