Most educated Westerners are familiar with the thinkers and prophets who inform the Western spirit. But they are less familiar with the thinkers who have shaped the major oriental civilizations. The heirs of these ancient civilizations are now once again in the ascendant. We must understand the ways and thoughts that condition their conduct. The Works of Mencius provides an admirable insight into one of the streams of thought of the Chinese. Indeed, the perceptive reader might well find that some ideas he though were new and alien in the new China have familiar echoes in Mencius.
This new translation, especially arranged and annotated with the general reader in mind, has been made in the light of recent philological research. It aims at rendering an Archaic Chinese original in a modern and unadorned prose, and is intended for the general reader who is otherwise unfamiliar with Chinese authors and desires to understand what Mencius is about without encumbering the text with footnotes and technical apparatus which the specialist quite properly demands. While the text has been translated in its entirety its parts have been rearranged in a sequence which it is hoped will make them easier for the Western reader.
About the author
W.A.C.H. Dobson (1913-1982) was a professor of Chinese and Head of the Department of East Asiatic Studies at the University of Toronto, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a graduate in Oriental Studies from Oxford, of which university he was a Doctor of Letters. He wrote extensively on the Chinese language and is the author of numerous articles in scholarly journals as well as a number of books: The Civilization of the Orient; Late Archaic Chinese: a Grammatical Study; Early Archaic Chinese: A Descriptive Grammar; Mencius: a New Translation Arranged and Annotated for the General Reader; Late Han Chinese: the Archaic-Han Shift; and The Language of the Book of Songs.
"A new translation of this great classic has long been wanted and Mr. Dobson was especially qualified to make it. . . . [He] has produced an excellent rendering."
The Journal of Asian Studies