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Tao Te Ching [Paperback]

Lao Tzu , Stephen Addiss , Stanley Lombardo
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
Price: 5.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Nov 1993
This translation captures the terse and enigmatic beauty of the ancient original and resists the tendency toward interpretive paraphrase found in many other editions. Along with the complete translation, Lombardo and Addiss provide one or more key lines from the original Chinese for each of the eighty-one sections, together with a transliteration of the Chinese characters and a glossary commenting on the pronunciation and meaning of each Chinese character displayed. This greatly enhances the reader's appreciation of how the Chinese text works and feels and the different ways it can be translated into English.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co, Inc (1 Nov 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872202321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872202320
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 13.5 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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

About the Author

Stephen Addiss is Tucker-Boatwright Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Art History, University of Richmond. Stanley Lombardo is Professor of Classics, University of Kansas.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Traditional accounts of Chinese history customarily begin by describing certain ancient rulers such as the Yellow Emperor or Yao and Shun, paragons of virtue and wisdom, who first taught the arts of civilization to the Chinese people. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
175 of 180 people found the following review helpful
One of the best translations on the market. An attempt has been made to preserve some of the crystalline terseness of the original which is beyond deep. Also one key line from each section is given in Chinese along with a glossary so that you can make your own translation. For example the third line from Section 29 they translate as "The world is a spiritual vessel", the Chinese being T'ien hsia shen ch'i. On using the glossary it becomes revealed that T'ien hsia means "under heaven" or "lower heaven" - much richer that "world". It would be possible to quibble with any translation, & ideally it would be best to study two or three different translations. However this one comes closest to the spirit of the original.
This book is remarkable & indispensible though for it's presentation & the stunning ink paintings/calligraphy which perfectly compliment the text. You'd be hard pressed to find a more beautiful book anywhere. Recommended!
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a real translation 3 Nov 2008
By Mike L
Translators Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo have done their best not to reinterpret the Tao Te Ching, but to allow it to speak for itself. This wonderful English version preserves the epigrammatic terseness of the original. The layout and illustrations strike the same note as the text.

What can I say - this is the best way to approach this work, short of translating it yourself. Warmly recommended
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FREEING 11 Feb 2011
If you a swithering as to whether you should buy this book then simply don't. Swither that is. Buy it! Trust in your self and in your ability to understand the gems held within. Then gently put these gems of wisdom and light into practice and your life will change perceptively. You will be surrounded by love or your money back. Ok, so I can't promise this in actuality. But if a sack scratching Neanderthal like me can take in its wisdom and subsequently grow in spirit then you should have no problems. Why don't you use that cash you put aside for a bottle of dodgy merlot to better use and purchase a copy of this timeless companion.

Ps: There's a good car chase at the end!........................................ Ok so I lied.... Hey, small steps................. reeeeally small steps..........
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Acute and Correct 10 Mar 2009
Suitably sparse, elegant and mysterious. Leaves you free to embrace the uncanny poise and balance of our deepest nature. Where many translations seek to explain, they betray the spirit of the Chinese original, to speak with fewer words, to realise with fewer thoughts. Also they enable you try your hand at your own translaion of selected lines. This alone is worth the purchase. Through doing so you discover the amazing potency and fluency of the Chinese script. You can supply several different but subtely related translations of the same line which amply demonstrates how efficient and poetic it can be. In the same way synonyms elaborate and enhance a single thought, a single line can resonate and glow with related meaning.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, yet complex 21 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At first reading I was startled, as this is very different to most translations of the Tao Te Ching.
This translation is fantastic because of its simplicity. It cuts to the core of many verses and avoids the wordy English translations which try to 'explain' what Lao Tzu meant. It also avoids the use of 'he' as a pronoun and in doing so recreates the genderlessness of the Chinese original. It has good clarity and retains some of the poetry and pace of the original - so it seems very 'authentic'. The Chinese-style paintings and the use of Chinese characters alongside the text make the book quite beautiful, too.

My only gripe is that sometimes this version uses a more complex vocabulary and words which have a 'western' meaning, such as in the following from Verse 18:
Addis & Lombardo "...filial piety and affection arise / the nation disordered, patriots come forth"

The use of 'patriots' in this verse sticks out for me. In my opinion a patriot is someone who wants respect for their achievements, which the Tao Te Ching warns against, therefore I do not feel this word is the best choice. Although the concept of 'filial piety' is a Chinese concept, many people might not know what this means.

Perhaps the brevity of this translation, which is its best asset, is also its downfall, as it somestimes comes across as a little heartless.

I would contrast this with Red Pine's translation (which for me is more easily understood):
"...we meet obedience and love / when the country is in chaos, we meet upright officials"

The Addis and Lombardo translation is an excellent work, but better suited as a refreshing text for someone who has already read other 'explanatory' versions of the Tao.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Translation I've found 14 Mar 2010
After trawling through several translations on-line and at my local libraries I decided to buy this version. With a mini dictionary at the end and beautiful drawings scattered in-between verses this is a simply wonderful book. The translation is sensible and precise and it features a forward from Burton Watson, who has translated many ancient Chinese books, and a short history with a pronunciation guide as well.
As for the Tao Te Ching itself, I advise anyone who's interested in life outside the normal scope to read this through and through, slowly and taking time in your day to reflect and make it part of your life, A pleasure to own.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treasure
This is a beautiful translation, which is providing me with plenty of food for consideration.
Published 2 days ago by RickyBoy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent value!
Published 1 month ago by Elaine Titley
4.0 out of 5 stars Tao te Ching
The translation is very good. Pity that the original text is missing. It would have been even better if a proper vocabulary with pin-yin could also be provided for the text. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Maria
5.0 out of 5 stars For once, a book that isn't all about the translator
All too often, translations of works of philosophy are dominated by notes, introductions, footnotes, interpretation and explanation. Read more
Published 3 months ago by P. Bulmer
5.0 out of 5 stars tao
a beautiful book.came fast in the post and i recommend it to a lot of friends as it is so beautifully written and powerful.was shipped very fast and came in excellent condition
Published 4 months ago by mrs amaryllis macintyre
5.0 out of 5 stars An Opportunity to Remember
I am grateful to have read this book for the first time when I was very young (and by chance). It has informed my life, served to keep me steady more often than I otherwise would... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Daniel Rozman
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and precise
The mode of translation with this version of the Tao Te Ching is excellent. Not only is the translation good but they manage to keep the poetic feel of the original by only... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Martha
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Lao Tsu
The trick with this man is the translation.
This translation is the very one for me anyway. If the translator starts adding bits the whole thing comes crashing down. Read more
Published 6 months ago by prziloczek
4.0 out of 5 stars it very good.,
it is good and i like it thank you for that.,it AA ******.AND I WILL GATE MORE OF THIS BOOKS
Published 6 months ago by antonios christou
5.0 out of 5 stars Dip in and out of ancient and enduring wisdom
A review of the TaoTe Ching is somewhat pointless; whether you gain something from reading this book is more down to the reader than to the book. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Feast
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