The books collected in this volume represent the first time since the mid-nineteenth century that the four seminal masterworks of ancient Chinese thought have been translated as a unified series by a single translator. Hinton’s award-winning experience translating a wide range of ancient Chinese poets makes these books sing in English as never before. But these new versions are not only inviting and immensely readable, they also apply much-needed consistency to key philosophical terms in these texts, lending structural links and philosophical rigor heretofore unavailable in English. Breathing new life into these originary classics, Hinton’s new translations will stand as the definitive texts for our era.
Perhaps the most broadly influential spiritual text in human history, Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching is the source of Taoist philosophy, which eventually developed into Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism. Equally influential in the social sphere, Confucious’ Analects is the source of social wisdom in China. The Chuang Tzu is the wild and wacky prose complement to the Tao Te Ching. And with its philosophical story-telling, the Menicius adds depth and complexity to Confucius’ vision.