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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 23, Issue 1/4, 2007

Semiotics in the Chinese Umwelt

Chi-hsiang Lee
Pages 81-95

The “Blanks” and the “Writing”
A Narratological Description of Spring and Autumn

This paper is intended to discourse upon the state of the “blankness” in the first sentence of Spring and Autumn. Chinese traditional scholars tend to explain “blanks” as the “chueh wen/blanks of text” or the “pu shu/unwritten” on the basis of Commentaries. The former is a kind of “to be written” while the latter refers to the “blank”, which is “already written”, not “non-written”. “Blanks of text” is a term from The Analects of Confucius, coined first by Master Confucius to refer to the relationship between court historians, writing and tradition, while “blank written” is a term in the Commentaries in reference to the relationship between the practice of “meaning-given” and the “blank narrative” of “unwritten/blank written” in the text of Spring and Autumn. On account of the two terms, this study attempts to argue that the status of the “blanks” is explainable.

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