Paul van Els of Leiden University writes…
This new translation of the Lunyu, which recently came out, may have escaped the attention of Warp, Weft, and Way blog readers, as it was published by what appears to be an obscure press:
Li, Chris Wen-Chao. 2018. What Confucius Really Said: The Complete Analects in a Skopos-Centric Translation. San Francisco: Maison 174. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1727464494/)
Purists might frown upon this translation, if only because the real Confucius could not and would not have quoted Katy Perry as saying “You’re hot then you’re cold, You’re yes then you’re no, You’re in then you’re out, You’re up then you’re down” (p. 164). Still, Li’s work is a creative take on the ancient text, and translations such as “Confucius @MasterSays: Guys who talk sweet and smile all the time are scum.” (p. 3) might strike a chord with the Twitter generation.
I have this book and really enjoy it. The translator aims to give us the voice of Kongzi as it would have seemed to students and audiences of his day, in language and through references that are fresh and contemporary, as it was for them. It’s very cleverly rendered.
Notable tangent: in this week’s the “By the Book” feature of the NYT’s book section (by far my favorite thing in the paper), when asked what book he’d recommend President Trump read, Gary Snyder responded with the Analects, plumping for Ames & Rosemont: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/books/review/by-the-book-gary-snyder.html