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"The Language of Paradox and Poetics: A Comparative Study of Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard"

by Smith, Timothy Lawrence

Abstract (Summary)
"The Language of Paradox and Poetics: A Comparative Study of Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard" by Timothy L. Smith This dissertation examines the paradoxical and poetic language of Zhuangzi, a Daoist writer from Ancient China, and Søren Kierkegaard, a Western philosopher of 19th century Denmark. Despite writing from differing contexts, traditions, and time, both writers appear to share similar positions and strategies for illuminating their messages of indirect communication. This dissertation is a comparative study of those indirect practices and positions in light of their similarities and differences and attempts to answer what significance can be attached to Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard’s mutual decision to use paradox and poetics. The dissertation is in five chapters. The first chapter examines certain critical terms and practices frequently used in comparative studies. The second chapter provides important contextual background for Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard’s respective traditions, including the dominant rhetorical tendencies of each. Chapter Three is an examination of Zhuangzi’s use of paradox and poetics in his message of indirect communication. Chapter Four is a similar study of Kierkegaard’s own use and understanding of paradox and poetics. Finally, the concluding chapter draws general conclusions regarding Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard’s use and understanding of indirect communication and the language of paradox and poetics and what this might mean to comparative studies and the field of rhetoric in general. The dissertation concludes that both Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard believe that the unique language of paradox and poetics necessary to achieving the full effect of his message of indirect communication. This includes the sensibility of paradoxical subjective experience that arises in the language of paradox and poetics.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:paradox poetic zhuangzi kierkegaard rhetoric

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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