44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
This is not a translation, but a personal interpretation.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Tao Te Ching: The Book of the Way (Paperback)
This is not a translation so much as a series of musings based on Paul Carus's literal version and the translations of others. Stephen Mitchell lacks the clarity and perceptiveness of Arthur Waley, the simple elegance of Jane English and Gia-Fu Feng, the scholasticism of D C Lau, and the current relevance of Robert Henricks. His main innovation is in attempting to resolve the 'male bias' he perceives in Lao Tzu by using such techniques as "The Master can keep giving because there is no end to her wealth" (ch 77). However Ursula Le Guin handles the gender issue far more successfully in keeping to the spirit of the original Chinese character by making the central figure neither male nor female (rather than alternating between the two). Although Stephen Mitchell draws heavily on his experience of various religions (he has written books on both Buddhism and the Old Testament), his commentaries fall far short of Lao Tzu's own sparkling humorous 'sharp but not cutting' observations on the eternal Way which can not be talked about.