In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics by François JullienIn Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics by François Jullien

In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and Aesthetics

byFrançois JullienTranslated byPaula M. Varsano

Paperback | August 10, 2007

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 125 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


A consideration of blandness not as the absence of defining qualities but as the harmonious union of all potential values-an infinite opening into human experience.

Already translated into six languages, Francois Jullien's In Praise of Blandness has become a classic. Appearing for the first time in English, this groundbreaking work of philosophy, anthropology, aesthetics, and sinology is certain to stir readers to think and experience what may at first seem impossible: the richness of a bland sound, a bland meaning, a bland painting, a bland poem. In presenting the value of blandness through as many concrete examples and original texts as possible, Jullien allows the undifferentiated foundation of all things-blandness itself-to appear. After completing this book, readers will reevaluate those familiar Western lines of thought where blandness is associated with a lack-the undesirable absence of particular, defining qualities. Jullien traces the elusive appearance and crucial value of blandness from its beginnings in the Daoist and Confucian traditions to its integration into literary and visual aesthetics in the late-medieval period and beyond. Gradually developing into a positive quality in Chinese aesthetic and ethical traditions, the bland comprises the harmonious and unnameable union of all potential values, embodying a reality whose very essence is change and providing an infinite opening into the breadth of human expression and taste. More than just a cultural history, In Praise of Blandness invites those both familiar and unfamiliar with Chinese culture to explore the resonances of the bland in literary, philosophical, and religious texts and to witness how all currents of Chinese thought-Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism-converge in harmonious accord.

François Jullien is Professor at the Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot and director at the Institut de la Pensée Contemporaine. He is the author of Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece, The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China, and In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Though...
Title:In Praise of Blandness: Proceeding from Chinese Thought and AestheticsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:August 10, 2007Publisher:Zone BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1890951420

ISBN - 13:9781890951429

Look for similar items by category:


Editorial Reviews

Blandness is a sub rosa self-help book and a map to the sublime.

-Village Voice