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Stanley Lombardo is Professor of Classics, University of Kansas.
It is not often that books of merit in the field of spiritual writing also appeal to the eye and the hand. This version of the well-known Tao Te Ching is indubitably a coffee-table book, but it is as gratifying to the intellect as to the sense of aesthetics. In the principal section of the book, each verse chapter, in Chinese and in Dale's translation, is accompanied by a beautifully subtle black-and-white photograph. At the rear of the book, Dale, a longtime scholar of acupuncture and other fields, repeats each verse chapter and adds his own commentary. There is something unintentionally comic about Dale's Western, reasoned, and multisyllabic commentaries on Lao Tzu's studied simplicity, apparent even in translation; still, most readers will find Dale's insights helpful. For libraries with significant holdings in Taoism. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Dale, a teacher of alternative medicine and author of Acupuncture with Your Fingers, offers a new translation of the ancient Chinese text credited by legend to the sixth-century sage Lao Tzu. Relying on several earlier translations from Chinese, Dale lovingly renders the 81 sections into verse rather than prose. Accompanied by Cleare's evocative black-and-white nature photographs, each poem is titled and stands alone. Included are Dale's informed commentaries for each verse that present the meaning of Lao Tzu's words for life today. For example Verse 30, "Defense and Aggression," is interpreted as permitting defense against violence, but never taking revenge or attempting to conquer others through the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. One meaning of Verse 49, "Wisdom," is that each human, no matter how compromised and corrupted, has an innate humanity in his or her core. Dale uses the last verse, "The Paradoxes of Life," to summarize the meanings in the first 80. He contends that despite the evil uses that technology has been put to, such as the development of weapons of mass destruction, it is possible to transform this technological knowledge into a mutually dependent system of economy and communications that may be used to meet the needs of people worldwide. This transformation is a way for the modern world to live within Lao Tzu's Great Integrity, a life of harmony with one another. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This crystalline translation of the Tao Te Ching is accurate down to the nuance and as concisely poetic as the original. It preserves the quirks and flavors of the original text. The translators hearkened to the message of the book itself, and kept it clear and gently strong. Of the many translations I have read in English, this is unquestionably the best. --Gary Snyder, University of California at Davis This edition combines an earthy--as opposed to esoteric--translation with a welcome entree into the Chinese text for those who do not know that language. The gorgeous ink paintings add beauty to the edition. I can't imagine a better way to present this text, and I can't imagine ever using a different edition. --Greg Salyer, Huntingdon College This is by far the best translation on the market today, and I have been praising it to whoever would listen. --Livia Kohn, Boston University