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Tao Te Ching Paperback – January 1, 1994
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"Mitchell's rendition of the "Tao Te Ching comes as close to being definitive for our time as any I can imagine. It embodies the virtues its translator credits to the Chinese original: a gemlike lucidity that is radiant with humor, grace, largeheartedness, and deep wisdom."-- Huston Smith, author of "The Religions of Man""Mitchell's great talent is to communicate with the profound simplicity utterly appropriate for this task. The obscure has been made transparent and available."-- "Common Boundary""Beautiful and accessible; the English, as 'fluid as melting ice, ' is a joy to read throughout."-- "The New Republic"
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Let the educated debaters go on with their "Ten thousand things" arguing about translations and meanings. They miss the point. Get this book, make some tea, turn of the incessant rattlings in your brain and the screens in your home and relax to ancient wisdom that has influenced millions of hearts and minds for thousands of years...
However, bar none, this is the best translation of the Tao Te Ching I've ever read (I own 2 and have browsed 6 or 7 more.). It strikes the perfect balance between literalism and interpretation. Anyone who's looked at the original Chinese characters knows that it's tough to literally translate into English - many connectives we use to make things flow are just not present in the Chinese. Addiss and Lombardo don't overdo it, though, in making the verses comprehensible - they add only enough in the way of connectives to allow the verses to register in an English speaking mind.
If I were to recommend any edition of the Tao Te Ching to someone, this would be it. It is the best English approximation of the simplicity of the original epigrams and phrases. Where other translations can be bogged down with frilly adjectives and add-ons, this one strips itself down to the bare essentials - not only approaching the spareness of the original, but also the theme - 'ten thousand things' are 9,999 too many!
It's been said that this is the best translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Teh Ching, though I cannot attest to the validity of the statement I can say that of the few translations that I have read this has been the most easy to understand and the most enjoyable.