China encounters Darwinism: A case of intercultural rhetoric

Xiaosui XIAO*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


An important but neglected path to understanding intercultural communication is to explore how influential works of one culture are adapted to the needs, circumstances and thought patterns of another. Yan Fu’s Heavenly Evolution, a rhetorical "translation" of Thomas Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics, the publication of which resulted in a rapid spread of a version of Darwinism in Confucian China at the turn of this century, is analyzed as a case study. It shows the conditions for the rhetorical role of the native interpreter in dealing with Darwinian ideas and terms that were originally in conflict with Chinese modes of thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-99
Number of pages17
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1995

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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