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Reflections on translating the I Ching

ANU China Seminar Series


John Minford


Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU


Thursday, 5 June, 2014 - 16:00 to 17:30

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The I Ching was one of the very first of the Chinese classics to be put into a European language. An extraordinary group of French Jesuits at the court of the Kangxi Emperor produced a complete and fluent Latin version in the early 18th century, which however remained in manuscript until it was printed in Germany a hundred years later. John Minford’s new translation of the I Ching will be published in October of this year. In this seminar, he will first look back at the story of the Jesuit and other early translations, and will then reflect on some of the challenges faced by the modern translator of this enigmatic and ultimately mysterious text.

About the Speaker

John Minford was educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1968 with a degree in Chinese Studies. Over the subsequent 15 years he worked closely with David Hawkes on the Penguin Classics version of the 18th-century novel The Story of the Stone 紅樓夢. He came to Canberra in 1977 and studied for his PhD under the late Liu Ts’unyan 柳存仁. He went on to translate for Penguin a selection from Pu Songling’s Strange Tales 聊齋志異 and Sunzi’s The Art of War 孫子兵法. Since 2006, he has been Professor of Chinese at the ANU.

After the Seminar

To allow for informal discussion, the seminar will be followed by post-presentation at the Fellows Bar with the guest speaker. All are welcome, though those who attend will need to pay for their own drinks.

The China Seminar Series is sponsored by the China Institute, with the Australian Centre on China in the World and the College of Asia & the Pacific.

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