Hutton’s Xunzi Translaton Published


Xunzi: The Complete Text

Princeton University Press would like to announce the publication of Eric Hutton’s new translation of Xunzi.

“This is the first complete, one-volume English translation of the ancient Chinese text Xunzi, one of the most extensive, sophisticated, and elegant works in the tradition of Confucian thought. Through essays, poetry, dialogues, and anecdotes, the Xunzi articulates a Confucian perspective on ethics, politics, warfare, language, psychology, human nature, ritual, and music, among other topics. Aimed at general readers and students of Chinese thought, Eric Hutton’s translation makes the full text of this important work more accessible in English than ever before.

“Named for its purported author, the Xunzi (literally, “Master Xun”) has long been neglected compared to works such as the Analects of Confucius and the Mencius. Yet interest in the Xunzi has grown in recent decades, and the text presents a much more systematic vision of the Confucian ideal than the fragmented sayings of Confucius and Mencius. In one famous, explicit contrast to them, the Xunzi argues that human nature is bad. However, it also allows that people can become good through rituals and institutions established by earlier sages. Indeed, the main purpose of the Xunzi is to urge people to become as good as possible, both for their own sakes and for the sake of peace and order in the world.

“In this edition, key terms are consistently translated to aid understanding and line numbers are provided for easy reference. Other features include a concise introduction, a timeline of early Chinese history, a list of important names and terms, cross-references, brief explanatory notes, a bibliography, and an index.”

View on Princeton University Press website

Table of Contents

4 replies on “Hutton’s Xunzi Translaton Published”

  1. Looks good. The only thing I would prefer is the Chinese text as well, although that would definitely make the book quite bulky. Knoblock’s Xunzi also didn’t have the Chinese text, and it was three volumes.

  2. Thanks, Chia-fu, and thanks also to Steve for putting the word out and for his generous endorsement on the back cover! I humbly hope that the translation will be of use to many.

    In response to Scott Barnwell: I intentionally left out the Chinese text, mostly for reasons of cost—the more printed pages, the more expensive the book, and I was trying to keep the price affordable for US undergraduates, most of whom do not read Chinese. (The release will be in hardback first, with a cheaper paperback that should follow soon.) At some point in the future, though, if you and the other readers of this blog and their students were to convince Princeton University Press of the value of a bilingual edition, I would be open to preparing one.

    • I just received a review copy, and while my review of the translation has not yet begun, I have to say that your publishers have done a great job. I own a trilingual edition of Knoblock’s translation, and your edition, despite being limited to the English, is superior in terms of presentation and readability. It will not be a big hassle for me to evaluate the translation against the Chinese.

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