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The Victorian Translation of China: James Legge's Oriental Pilgrimage Hardcover – May 20, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 861 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (May 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520215524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520215528
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,412,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A magnificent book, learned and witty (and specializing in the author's own brand of self-deprecating humor), with trails leading off into obscure and fascinating corners of Victorian life. . . . This book on Legge's intellectual career and ethos is magisterial, urbane, very scholarly, and likely to remain definitive for a long time to come."--"Taipei Times"

From the Inside Flap

"Norman J. Girardot's The Victorian Translation of China: James Legge's Oriental Pilgrimage is breathtaking in its scope. James Legge was a giant in Sinology; only a monumental volume such as this one could do justice to him. The publication of this biography of Legge is a major event, not just for the history of Sinology, but for the intellectual history of the late 19th century in general. Indeed, in a sense, the book is almost as much about the great Indologist and comparative philologist Max Müller as it is about the Christian missionary from Aberdeen who produced such epochal translations of the Chinese classics in Hong Kong and at Oxford. Partly inspired by Lytton Strachey’s trenchant insights of into the Victorian mind and character, Girardot's masterpiece deserves to be ranked with the finest examples of the craft of writing about influential persons and interesting eras. But it is more than that; quite simply, this is one of the most outstanding academic biographies of all time and in any field."—Victor H. Mair, translator of Tao Te Ching: The Classic Book of Integrity and the Way and Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu.

"Through a densely annotated translation of the entire Confucian canon and two seminal Daoist texts, James Legge is the single most important individual in making the historical classics of Chinese history and philosophy known to English readership, and through it to the entire Western world. Norman Girardot’s study, surpassing all previous efforts in chronicling the person and assessing Legge’s legacy, is itself a monumental achievement in research, interpretation, and writing. The focalized discussion of the subject in terms of the scholar as missionary, the development of Sinological Orientalism, and the rise and growth of the Comparative Science of Religions or Religionswissenschaft provides unrivalled enormity of scope and depth of understanding. The Victorian Translation of China will remain a definitive work for decades to come."—Anthony C. Yu, author most recently of Rereading the Stone: Desire and the Making of Fiction in Dream of the Red Chamber.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book takes a detailed look at the Victorian-era translation of China in the context of both a symbolic and literal pilgrimage to the Orient. It may be said to be an intellectual biography of James Legge. I liked the book because of the extensive, well-researched footnotes. I would fully and unreservedly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the trials and tribulations of the Victorian-era translation of China. While the book requires a small commitment of time from the reader, it provides in return a unique and fully formed picture of an interesting subject.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Moe Dee on September 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In an ambitious yet rippingly successfull break from the staid academic tradition of endnotes, Dr. Girardot delivers a veritable tour-de-force with his latest scholarly work, "The Victorian Translation of China: James Legge's Oriental Pilgrimage." The reader will delight in literally hundreds of footnotes detailing the Missionary James Legge's symbolic and literal pilgrimage to the China of yore, detailing and amplifying on such electrifying subjects such as: "How does Legge relate to Confucianism through Christianity?"; "What is Max Müller 'Motto'?"; and finally, "Who is General Tso, and why is his chicken so good?". Not since "An Annotated Transliteration of the Alphabet", by Dr. Farles Pikquens (ret.) has such a well-researched book so thoroughly expanded vistas of hermeneutical inquiry into this otherwise "forgotten Victorian sage".
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