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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 16, 2019

Rhetorical Procedures in Chinese Literature

Post-Cultural Revolution literature: Scar Literature

Lelia Mabel Gándara
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


“Scar Literature,” a literary movement in twentieth-century Chinese literature, encompasses a series of works written after the Cultural Revolution. The scar metaphor was taken from the title of a short story, “The Scar,” and characterized a series of works with common features. The outlines of “Scar Literature” are blurred, mixed and intertwined with other literary trends and movements. But while Chinese and foreign literary criticism claim that it was short-lived, its influences are visible in several works by contemporary authors. Based on the idea that literary works are prone to being analyzed as a form of persuasive discourse, this paper identifies typical rhetorical procedures of this literary trend and its influences in certain emblematic works: the recurrence of topoi (figures such as “rehabilitation,” peculiar to the Cultural Revolution); inductive reasoning (the construction of a historiographic reasoning via the exemplum); recourse to pathos; and the metaphorical figure of the scar bearing the value of the plotline. This analysis applies concepts of New Rhetoric and discourse linguistics, in particular, concepts developed by Olbrecht-Tyteca and Perelman, Amossy’s approach about pathos and the role of emotions and “figurality” in argumentation, and Plantin’s linguistic theory of the emotions.


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Published Online: 2019-08-16
Published in Print: 2019-08-27

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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