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The Influence of James Legge (1815-1897) on Later Translations of the Confucian Classics

Posted By admin On 10:04 AM In Past Events 2018-19 | Comments Disabled

2018/2019 School of Chinese Research Student Seminar

The Influence of James Legge (1815-1897) on Later Translations of the Confucian Classics

Mr. Christian Nordvall 王子安先生

February 25, 2019 (Monday); 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Language: English

James Legge (1815-1897) was the first professor of Chinese at Oxford, and before that an important missionary to Hong Kong. He is best known for making the first, and so far only, complete translation of the Confucian Four Books & Five Classics into English, published in seven volumes over a 24-year period 1861-1885. While nobody has since attempted to re-translate the entire canon, there are dozens of partial translations, especially of the Four Books. What is the relationship of these later translators to Legge? Most of them admit to having read his work in their prefaces and footnotes, but generally they do not say what, if anything, they have borrowed from him. This talk will briefly introduce the history of translating the Four Books & Five Classics during the first 100 years after Legge’s last publication (1885-1985), and then analyse the dependence of later translators on Legge from the three angles of vocabulary, hermeneutics, and worldview.



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