This essay introduces Lű's Annals (Lűshi chunqiu), a classical Chinese text with a wealth of material on rhetoric. Not only does the text evaluate numerous examples of persuasion and sophistry, it also lays out a system of rhetorical precepts grounded in a distinctive ontology, that of correlative cosmology. After outlining the cosmology, epistemology, and theory of language of Lű's Annals, I trace how these shape its rhetorical theory and practices. I then consider how the text itself works as a persuasive artifact in the light of its own strictures. The essay closes with some reflections on why this valuable resource for Classical Chinese rhetoric has been neglected.
Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies
Garrett, Mary. M. (Autumn 2012). “What Need is There of Words?” The Rhetoric of Lű's Annals (Lűshi chunqiu). Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric, 30(4), 354-374.