How Yanzi Fulfills His Responsibilities as Minister in the Rhetorical Techniques Within the Jian (Remonstrance) of the Yanzi Chun Qiu
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
This thesis is the first indepth analysis of the jian, or advisory speeches, within a relatively unknown text, the Yanzi Chunqiu. It examines the way the Chunqiu period advisor Yanzi employs rhetorical techniques within the jian to change the conduct of his ruler Duke Jing according to Yanzi's three key political views: that the welfare of the common people is essential for the well-being of the state, that li 礼 (or ritual propriety) is of central importance in administering the state, and that the correct relationship between the minister and the ruler is he 和 (a complementary one). This study situates jian, ministerial responsibilities and Yanzi's own political views within the political and intellectual context of the Chunqiu period. It also disagrees with several scholars who claim that the text is unlikely to be a true record of this period. The rhetorical techniques within the jian (the majority of which are translated for the first time into English in this thesis), categorised according to whether they are typical (analogy, citation and chain reasoning) or atypical (provocation, song, lying and threatening resignation), are then analysed. The thesis finds that Yanzi's use of citations, analogies and chain reasoning confirms much existing research on Chinese rhetoric about the application of such techniques. However, the discoveries of Yanzi's atypical use of jian, as well as his frequent reference to Duke Huan as a historical model and his use of possible negative consequences to instill fear in his ruler, indicate that the present understanding of jian by several Western scholars largely based on the Zuozhuan and the Guoyu presents only a partial understanding of jian. The thesis suggests that more attention should be paid to lesser-known texts such as the Yanzi Chunqiu for a clearer picture of the rhetoric of this period.