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Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way

by Ursula K. Le Guin, Lao Tzu (Author)

Other authors: J. P. Seaton

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1,0131920,407 (4.39)4
No other English translation of this greatest of the Chinese classics can match Ursula Le Guin's striking new version. Le Guin, best known for thought-provoking science fiction novels that have helped to transform the genre, has studied the Tao Te Ching for more than forty years. She has consulted the literal translations and worked with Chinese scholars to develop a version that lets the ancient text speak in a fresh way to modern people, while remaining faithful to the poetic beauty of the work. Avoiding scholarly interpretations and esoteric Taoist insights, she has revealed the Tao Te Ching 's immediate relevance and power, its depth and refreshing humor, in a way that shows better than ever before why it has been so much loved for more than 2,500 years. Included are Le Guin's own personal commentary and notes on the text. This new version is sure to be welcomed by the many readers of the Tao Te Ching as well as those coming to the text for the first time.… (more)
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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Ursula K. Le Guin is credited as the translator here, but she says a better word for what she did is "rendering." Her work and her notes on the process help reveal this venerable classic for western readers. ( )
  boermsea | Jan 22, 2024 |
I had been intending to read a different translation/interpretation of this, when I came upon Le Guin's version which is clean, exquisite and spare. I am wondering whether one will always favour the first version one reads. As well as studying this version more fully, next year I will read the version I originally planned to read, with its academic disquisition. ( )
  Caroline_McElwee | Nov 29, 2023 |
LeGuin's translation is great. I don't know to what degree she adheres to the intention of the original text, but I found her translation profoundly inspiring and satisfying to read.

In her forward to "The Left Hand of Darkness" (1976) LeGuin writes: "The artist deals in what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words."

From that I infer that this [interpretation of the] text is the canonical Taoist foundation on which her speculative fiction rests, and perhaps that is one aspect which elevates hers above the pulp. ( )
  quavmo | Oct 26, 2023 |
a beautiful, much more poetic, and somewhat less comprehensible rendition of the Tao ( )
  emmby | Oct 4, 2023 |
Went down a rabbit hole with reading differing translations of 78, Ursula renders it:
Nothing in the world
is as soft, as weak, as water;
nothing else can wear away
the hard, the strong,
and remain unaltered.
Soft overcomes hard,
weak overcomes strong.
Everybody knows it, nobody uses the knowledge.

Maybe ...nobody uses the time... Of course, water hurries too. ( )
  kcshankd | Oct 31, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tzu, LaoAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Seaton, J. P.secondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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No other English translation of this greatest of the Chinese classics can match Ursula Le Guin's striking new version. Le Guin, best known for thought-provoking science fiction novels that have helped to transform the genre, has studied the Tao Te Ching for more than forty years. She has consulted the literal translations and worked with Chinese scholars to develop a version that lets the ancient text speak in a fresh way to modern people, while remaining faithful to the poetic beauty of the work. Avoiding scholarly interpretations and esoteric Taoist insights, she has revealed the Tao Te Ching 's immediate relevance and power, its depth and refreshing humor, in a way that shows better than ever before why it has been so much loved for more than 2,500 years. Included are Le Guin's own personal commentary and notes on the text. This new version is sure to be welcomed by the many readers of the Tao Te Ching as well as those coming to the text for the first time.

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