In praise of blandness: proceeding from Chinese thought and aesthetics

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Zone Books, Mar 1, 2004 - Philosophy - 169 pages
2 Reviews
Already translated into six languages, Francois Jullien's In Praise of Blandness has become a classic. Appearing for the first time in English, this groundbreaking work of philosophy, anthropology, aesthetics, and sinology is certain to stir readers to think and experience what may at first seem impossible: the richness of a bland sound, a bland meaning, a bland painting, a bland poem. In presenting the value of blandness through as many concrete examples and original texts as possible, Jullien allows the undifferentiated foundation of all things—blandness itself—to appear. After completing this book, readers will reevaluate those familiar Western lines of thought where blandness is associated with a lack—the undesirable absence of particular, defining qualities.

Jullien traces the elusive appearance and crucial value of blandness from its beginnings in the Daoist and Confucian traditions to its integration into literary and visual aesthetics in the late-medieval period and beyond. Gradually developing into a positive quality in Chinese aesthetic and ethical traditions, the bland comprises the harmonious and unnameable union of all potential values, embodying a reality whose very essence is change and providing an infinite opening into the breadth of human expression and taste.

More than just a cultural history, In Praise of Blandness invites those both familiar and unfamiliar with Chinese culture to explore the resonances of the bland in literary, philosophical, and religious texts and to witness how all currents of Chinese thought—Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism—converge in harmonious accord.

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Review: In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics

User Review  - Sd - Goodreads

"But the insipidity of traditional China, as represented by the limpidity of water (the basis for all flavors), is neither mere understatement nor affected (or complicated) blandness. Rather, it ... Read full review

Review: In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics

User Review  - Martin Bromirski - Goodreads

read this last year never added it... I wanted to read his more recent The Great Image Has No Form (or something like that) but can't find a free or affordable copy... but I was able to buy this ... Read full review

Contents

Translators Preface
7
Prologue
23
A Change of Sign
27
Copyright

17 other sections not shown

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About the author (2004)

François Jullien is Professor at the Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot and director at the Institut de la Pensée Contemporaine. He is the author of Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece, The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China, and In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics all published by Zone Books.

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