Document Type

Working Paper


This essay explores a profound but overlooked question: How can metaphors help transcend an influential metaphorical paradigm while themselves having a bias towards it? Based on the selected works of Li Dazhao, a great pioneer in the Chinese New Cultural Movement of the 1910s, this analysis focuses on how Li, while arguing for radical political-social change through the metaphor of the life cycle, found freedom from the influence of the traditional Yin-Yang cycle paradigm, which had led earlier Chinese to see all life cyclic processes in the light of harmonious interactions. This study contributes to our understanding of the sophisticated roles metaphors play in our lives. It also helps to explain the rhetorical origins of contemporary Chinese radicalism.


David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies

Publication Year