Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding collection, October 13, 2010
This review is from: Poems of the Masters: China's Classic Anthology of T'ang and Sung Dynasty Verse (Mandarin Chinese and English Edition) (Paperback)
Poetry, it is claimed in the Introduction to this excellent anthology, is China's greatest art form. The poems included in this collection provide strong support for this statement. They date from the Tang and Sung dynasties, from the 600's to the 1200's, and include some of the most famous of all Chinese poems, by some of the most revered poets. Each poem is presented in the original Chinese and then with a facing English translation by Red Pine, the pen name of the American Bill Porter.

If you know how to use a Chinese dictionary (on-line dictionaries are available which are more likely to have some of the older characters no longer included in modern dictionaries), you can try your hand at translating these poems yourself. They are all fairly short, so you can look up the characters in about an hour or two. This is an interesting and enlightening exercise, and is guaranteed to increase your respect for professional translators, especially of these sometimes enigmatically short and terse verses.

My favorite concerns a rural village celebrating a traditional holiday, no doubt a welcome pause from what must have been a difficult life of almost non-stop, back-breaking physical labor. The women are shepherding their drunken husbands home at the end of the day. Coming to us across the many centuries from a mysterious foreign land, this poem is so ..... human!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 14, 2011 6:22:19 PM PST
Amazoner says:
your suggestion to try translation using online dictionaries intriguing. Would one need training in Chinese to do that? Can you be more specific about the approach?
curious,
john
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