10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Tao Te Cing for those delving deeper into scholarship,
This review is from: Tao Te Ching (Everyman's Library) (Hardcover)This is a first-rate, hard-bound volume with a scholarly and informative introduction by Sarah Allan. This version also provides a historical chronology, followed by a fresh translation of the Ma Wang Tui manuscripts of the Tao Te Ching. This version may not be the one to buy your mom as an introduction to Lao-tzu, but it's a must have for serious students of the Tao Te Ching. One should be aware that the Ma Wang Tui manuscripts are dated earlier than the traditional Wang Pi manuscripts that are behind most popular translations, and there are notable differences. The biggest difference is in the order of verses. The MWT manuscripts first have all the verses on "Te," and then all the verses on "Tao." The result is that what starts as verse 1 in this version starts at verse 38 in the more common (Wang Pi-based) Tao Te Chings. Lau does have a comparitive table cross referencing all the verses, but you will have to refamiliarize yourself with reading Roman Numerals to use it with any speed.
The translation itself is excellent, reflecting Lau's aptitude with both languages as well as historical and linguistic issues. He leaves the translation clean of any notes, which is nice except where they could explain a few differences in beginning points or ending points of verses, etc.
There is an appendix dealing extensively with the "problem" of authorship, and another on the nature of the Tao Te Ching, and finally,a very helpful glossary of terms.