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The Analects (Penguin Classics)

af Confucius

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4,749491,692 (3.71)65
Few individuals have shaped their country's civilization more profoundly than the Master Kong (Confucius, 551-479 BC). Compulsory reading in the late Imperial period for all who wished to enter the Civil Service or Government, his sayings and those of his disciples form the foundation of adistinct social, ethical, and intellectual system. They have retained their freshness and vigour throughout the two and a half millennia of their currency, and are still admired even in today's China.This lively new translation with clear explanatory notes by one of the foremost scholars of classical Chinese provides the ideal introduction to the Analects for readers who have no previous knowledge of the Chinese language and philosophical traditions.… (mere)

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Engelsk (44)  Finsk (1)  Spansk (1)  Svensk (1)  Alle sprog (47)
Viser 1-5 af 47 (næste | vis alle)
You can't review the Analects. But you can review editions of the Analects, and this one, translated and commented upon by Annping Chin, is one of the great editions of any philosophy book I've ever come across. The translation clear without being condescending, and Chin includes the Chinese text at the back of the book. Her comments are fascinating; best of all, she includes references to and quotes from the many traditional commentaries on the book, so you know not only what e.g. one random American translator thinks about a given passage, but what one random American professor thinks about it... and one to four of the best known Confucians and scholars of Confucius' thought. It's almost a history of Confucian thought and scholarship in itself:

E.g., in 6.22 Fan Chi asks about wisdom and humaneness. We get information about who Fan Chi was, and learn that "the Song statesman and general Fan Zhongyan, many centuries later, rephrased what Confucius says... 'To be first in worrying about the world's worries and last to enjoy its pleasures'" is to be truly committed to public service.

It's hard to express my enthusiasm for this edition, really.

One small thought about the Analects themselves: Chin's translation, more than others I've read, helped me understand the importance Confucius places on education and tradition: tradition (i.e., the rites) holds us back, while education (i.e., literature) lets us broaden ourselves. To have either without the other produces a vicious person; to have them both in perfect balance produces the best person. Were I still a scholar, I'd love to write a paper about Confucius as negative dialectician. Thankfully, I'm not.

( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
NB: This review is not for The Analects (which one couldn't review, any more than one could review the Bible). This review is for the DC Lau translation/Penguin Classics edition.

The introduction to this edition is atrocious. Fussy, stilted, and thoroughly uninspiring. Half the introduction is spent pouring over specific etymologies, which should have been saved for a "Translator's Note" aimed at scholars or for those that have an ambition to read classical Chinese. The rest is a "anorak's guide" to Confucius, which only hints at more interesting, human or historical interpretations.

He dismisses the notion that Confucius's worldview could be seen as authoritarian - without ever explaining who thought that or why it might be. No reference is made to the use of Confucianism as a tool by past Chinese governments, or any prior Western readings. He's like a trainspotter who's forgotten what trains are for.

The worst part is his total credulity of Confucius' saintliness, forgetting he was first-and-foremost a man. He cites Confucius dismissing contemporary Chinese music as an example of his commitment to things that are morally pure. It doesn't seem to occur to Lau that contemporary Chinese music has an "impure" reputation *because* of Confucius, or indeed - much more likely - that Confucius simply had an old-fashioned taste in music and made it a moral issue, as those in the 1950s did with Rock n Roll.

As far as the accuracy of the translation goes, I'll have to take DC Lau's account. It's perfectly readable, although the typeface is dense. The Analects themselves are of course timeless. ( )
  sometimeunderwater | Jul 20, 2019 |
The Penguin edition, translated by D. C. Lau, is quite readable and has a lot of extra material: an extensive introduction, two appendices on Events in the Life of Confucius and The Disciples of Confucius, and more. All this helps put a text which is over 2500 years old into perspective. Just because people who can read Chinese can still read Kung Zi in the original doesn't mean we can understand it without notes.
  muumi | Jun 22, 2019 |
Librería 1. Estante 5.
  atman2019 | May 27, 2019 |
In his Teaching Company course on the Analects of Confucius, Dr. Robert Andre LaFleur says he recommends that his students read six different translations. I just complete my second—this book. I can definitely say that reading more than one translation (and listening to Dr. LaFleur’s excellent course) will give you a better understanding of Confucius; however, I must make a couple of immediate observations:

- While some passages become clearer, the varying translations of the same passage differ so much in some cases that it is hard to tell up from down!
- Reading multiple translations reinforces just how pasted together much of the Analects are. Oddball passages that clearly don’t belong creep in, but even after hundreds of years, we must still deal with them.

I first read one of the long-time standard translations, by D.C. Lau. It had an excellent introduction and was easy to get through. In contrast to this Simon Leys version, however, it clearly lacked literary style. I’m sure it’s partly because the material is more familiar, but there is also no doubt that Leys’ translation reads better. Whether it is more accurate is another question. Leys provides detailed notes about how he arrived at his translations, and he clearly identifies where he differs from other translations. In a review by Jonathan Spence when this book was first published, however, Spence (whom I have great respect for) does take issue with some of Leys’ interpretations. Given the ambiguity of classical Chinese to begin with, the corruption of the text over 2500 years, and the changing meaning of Chinese characters from generation to generation, I’m not sure anyone can ever say which translation is correct. Leys clearly has a bit of an agenda here, however. He is (was, actually, since he passed away in 2016) a conservative Roman Catholic, and his religious prejudices creep into some of his translations and are quite prominent in a few of his notes. For instance, he clearly equates homosexual families with a degeneration in society. His religious bias also shows through when he quotes another writer as saying how reading the four gospels clearly shows a single intelligence behind the writing, and he asserts the same is true of reading Confucius. In the case of the Bible, this is pure nonsense. The gospels contradict each other even more than the Analects, and like the Analects, they were written long after the death of their subject.

Leys also takes an inexplicable potshot at Pinyin romanization compared to Wade-Giles. By understanding a few simple rules, anyone can read Pinyin and come up with reasonable Mandarin Chinese pronunciation, whereas Wade-Giles doesn’t even come close! This just seems to be the author’s prejudice, since his Chinese studies started a long, long time ago.

Nevertheless, as I read through this book, I have to give the author credit for his learning and his use of quotations from a host of authors to support or elucidate the points he wants to make about Confucius. A quotation from C.S. Lewis about the difference between readers and non-readers, for instance, is brilliant. Leys also makes the Analects easier to understand by using a single name for each of Confucius’ disciples rather than the multiple formal or personal names that appear in the original text. For a Chinese scholar reading this, it may be a problem, but for the normal intelligent English-language reader, it is a boon.

Leys presents the translations unadorned by any notes, which appear in a separate section. The main text doesn’t even indicate which of the sayings have further notes. Many of them don’t if they are self-explanatory. You can certainly read through the Analects without even referring to the notes, since Leys’ translation is so clear. However, part of me does wish the notes were provided on the same page so I didn’t have to keep two bookmarks in place and flip back and forth. Given that this is a small, lightweight paperback, however, that wasn’t too much trouble.

So, overall I can truly recommend this book as an easy-to-follow, rewarding translation for someone trying to develop a deeper understanding of the Confucian worldview. I can also second the recommendation to read more than one translation. ( )
  datrappert | Jan 24, 2019 |
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Despite his immense importance in the Chinese tradition, little that is certain is known about Confucius. (Introduction)
1. The Master said, 'Is it not a pleasure, having learned something, to try it out at due intervals? Is it not a joy to have friends come from afar? Is it not gentlemanly not to take offense when others fail to appreciate your abilities?'
The Master said: "To learn, and then, in its due season, put what you have learned into practice—isn't that still a great pleasure?" (Hinton translation)
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Few individuals have shaped their country's civilization more profoundly than the Master Kong (Confucius, 551-479 BC). Compulsory reading in the late Imperial period for all who wished to enter the Civil Service or Government, his sayings and those of his disciples form the foundation of adistinct social, ethical, and intellectual system. They have retained their freshness and vigour throughout the two and a half millennia of their currency, and are still admired even in today's China.This lively new translation with clear explanatory notes by one of the foremost scholars of classical Chinese provides the ideal introduction to the Analects for readers who have no previous knowledge of the Chinese language and philosophical traditions.

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