Tuesday, October 22, 2013

[Book] Library of Chinese Classics

Library of Chinese Classics

1. If you are looking for English translations of classical Chinese texts, the Library of Chinese Classics ("大中华文库") is probably the place to begin the search.

The Library of Chinese Classics is a project of the government of China.

The planning stage of this project began in 1994 and 110 titles from all areas of knowledge of the entire Chinese written corpus were selected for inclusion in the Library.

The areas of knowledge can be broadly divided into classics, philosophy, history, literature, medicine and technology.

The publishing of the titles involved 17 publishers in China under the auspices of the Foreign Languages Press of Beijing.

The first title was published in 1999.

Each volume in the Library contains 3 kinds of text:

(a) the text of the original Chinese,

(b) the text in modern Chinese,

(c) a foreign language translation.

As expected for a venture by the government of China, all the Chinese texts are in Simplified Chinese.

The volumes in the Library have an uniform layout.

The Library will use an existing translation if there is an adequate one; otherwise, the general procedure is to translate the original Chinese into modern Chinese and from the modern Chinese into English.

Each translation is revised 5 times: 3 times within the publishing house responsible for a particular title, once by the Academic Consulting Committee, and once by the Editorial Committee.

The Library is meant for the general reader and volumes in the Library do not contain any scholarly apparatus.

The foreign languages translation is in two overlapping phases:

(a) In the first phase, the Chinese titles are translated into English.

(b) In the second phase, the Chinese titles are translated into 7 other foreign languages: French, German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Japanese and Korean.

This is a massive undertaking.

After nearly 20 years, the English translations are mostly done; but the other language translations are still ongoing.

2. Take for example the title Xunzi ("荀子").

The text of Xunzi is consisted of 32 "books" (equivalent to modern day chapters).

In the Library of Chinese Classics, these 32 books are in 2 volumes.

(a) The front cover of Xunzi:

(b) The title page of volume 1:

The English translation is an existing one by John Knoblock.

(The original English translation by John Knoblock is a critical edition with scholarly apparatus published by Stanford University Press in 3 volumes in 1988, 1990 and 1994.)

The modern Chinese translation is by Zhang Jue.

The publisher responsible for this particular title is the Hunan People's Publishing House under the auspices of the Foreign Languages Press.

(c) The contents of volume 1 in Chinese and English:

(d) The original Chinese text is on top, followed by a translation in modern Chinese on the bottom:

(e) The English translation is on the facing page:

3. Some titles from the Library of Chinese Classics:
  • 300 Early Chinese Poems (206 BC - 618 AD) ("汉魏六朝诗三百首") (2 vols.) (2006)
  • A Dream of Red Mansions ("红楼梦") (6 vols.) (1999)
  • A Dream under the Southern Bough ("南柯记") (2006)
  • A Record of the Buddhist Monasteries in Lu-Yang ("洛阳伽蓝记") (2007)
  • Amazing Tales: Second Series ("二刻拍案惊奇") (4 vols.) (2008)
  • Anthology of Tales from Records of the Taiping Era ("太平广记选") (2 vols.) (2007)
  • Creation of the Gods ("封神演义") (4 vols.) (2000)
  • Dragon-Carving and the Literary Mind ("文心凋龙") (2 vols.) (2003)
  • Gems of Classical Chinese Poetry ("新编千家诗") (2006)
  • Guanzi ("管子") (4 vols.) (2005)
  • Huai Nan Zi ("淮南子") (3 vols.) (2010)
  • Jade Mirror of the Four Unknowns ("四元玉鉴") (2 vols.) (2006)
  • Journey to the West ("西游记") (6 vols.) (2000)
  • Laozi ("老子") (1999)
  • Liezi ("列子") (2005)
  • Mencius ("孟子") (1999)
  • Mozi ("墨子") (2 vols.) (2006)
  • Outlaws of the Marsh ("水浒传") (5 vols.) (1999)
  • Records on the Warring States Period ("战国策") (3 vols.) (2008)
  • Selected Chinese Stories of the Song and Ming Dynasties ("宋明评话选") (2 vols.) (2007)
  • Selected Poems of Li Bai ("李白诗选") (2007)
  • Selected Poems of Su Shi ("苏轼诗词选") (2007)
  • Selected Tales of the Han, Wei and Six Dynasties Periods ("汉魏六朝小说选") (2006)
  • Selected Tang Dynasty Stories ("唐代传奇选") (2007)
  • Selections from Records of the Historian ("史记选") (3 vols.) (2008)
  • Selections from Records of the Listener ("夷坚志选") (2009)
  • Selections from Strange Tales from the Liaozhai Studio ("聊斋志异选") (4 vols.) (2007)
  • Six Records of a Floating Life ("浮生六记") (2006)
  • Sunzi: The Art of War; Sun Bin: The Art of War ("孙子兵法,孙膑兵法") (1999)
  • Synopsis of Prescriptions of the Golden Chamber (Jingui Yaolue) ("金匮要略") (2007)
  • Taibai Yinjing ("太白阴经") (2007)
  • Tending the Roots of Wisdom ("菜根谭") (2003)
  • The Analects, 2nd Edition ("论语" 第2版) (2008)
  • The Book of Lord Shang ("商君书") (2006)
  • The Book of Poetry ("诗经") (2 vols.) (2008)
  • The Classified Characters and Political Abilities ("人物志") (2007)
  • The Complete Works of Tao Yuanming ("陶渊明集") (2003)
  • The Handan Dream ("邯郸记") (2003)
  • The Peony Pavilion ("牡丹亭") (2 vols.) (2000)
  • The Poems of Ruan Ji ("阮籍诗选") (2006)
  • The Scholars ("儒林外史") (3 vols.) (1999)
  • The Six Strategies ("六韬") (2005)
  • The Spring and Autumn of Lu Buwei ("吕氏春秋") (3 vols.) (2005)
  • The Tale of Heroic Sons and Daughters ("儿女英雄传") (2 vols.) (2003)
  • The Three Strategies of Huang Shigong; Questions and Replies Between Tang Taizong and Li Weigong ("黄石公三略,唐太宗李卫公问对") (2005)
  • The Verse of Chu ("楚辞") (2006)
  • The Zhou Book of Change ("周易") (2 vols.) (2008)
  • Three Kingdoms ("三国演义") (5 vols.) (2000)
  • Treatise on Febrile Caused by Cold ("伤寒论") (2007)
  • Wu Zi; The Method of the Sima; Wei Liao Zi ("吴子,司马法,尉缭子") (2005)
  • Xunzi ("荀子") (2 vols.) (1999)
  • Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine: Plain Conversation ("黄帝内经:素问") (3 vols.) (2005)
  • Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine: Spiritual Pivot ("黄帝内经:灵枢") (3 vols.) (2008)
  • Yellow Emperor's Four Canons ("黄帝四经") (2006)


"大中华文库", Baidu,
(accessed 2013-10-22).

"《大中华文库》汉英对照版110种即将出齐", China Reading Weekly,
(accessed 2013-10-22).

"向世界说明中国 汉英对照《大中华文库》全球首发", China.org.cn,
(accessed 2013-10-22).

Knoblock, John, and Zhang Jue, trans. 1999. 《荀子 I》 [Xunzi I]. Library of Chinese Classics, ed. Yang Muzhi. Changsha, Hunan: Hunan People's Publishing House and Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

Knoblock, John, and Zhang Jue, trans. 1999. 《荀子 II》 [Xunzi II]. Library of Chinese Classics, ed. Yang Muzhi. Changsha, Hunan: Hunan People's Publishing House and Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.