Li Zhi, Confucianism, and the Virtue of Desire

Pauline C. Lee
eISBN-13: 9781438439280

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Li Zhi (1527–1602) was a bestselling author with a devoted readership. His biting, shrewd, and visionary writings with titles like A Book to Hide and A Book to Burn were both inspiring and inflammatory. Widely read from his own time to the present, Li Zhi has long been acknowledged as an important figure in Chinese cultural history. While he is esteemed as a stinging social critic and an impassioned writer, Li Zhi's ideas have been dismissed as lacking a deeper or constructive vision. Pauline C. Lee convincingly shows us otherwise. Situating Li Zhi within the highly charged world of the late-Ming culture of "feelings," Lee presents his slippery and unruly yet clear and robust ethical vision. Li Zhi is a Confucian thinker whose consuming concern is a powerful interior world of abundance, distinctive to each individual: the realm of the emotions. Critical to his ideal of the good life is the ability to express one's feelings well. In the work's conclusion, Lee brings Li Zhi's insights into conversation with contemporary philosophical debates about the role of feelings, an ethics of authenticity, and the virtue of desire.

ISBNs 1438439288, 9781438439280, 9781438439266
Language English
Number of Pages 202