D. C. Lau’s Understanding and Translation of Lao Tzu
張順菲 Miss Zhang Shunfei
April 25, 2014 (Friday) 5:30-6:45pm
Room 730 Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus
Professor D. C. Lau (1921-2010) is renowned for his studies and renditions of Chinese Classics. His English version of Tao Te Ching not only enjoys immense popularity among the general western readers interested in Chinese culture, but also remains an authority in academia. As a scholar, Lau opposes the mystification of Lao Tzu, arguing that it is simply a rather down-to-earth philosophy developed out of fear and aimed at the mundane purpose of personal survival and political order. He believes the text of Lao Tzu to be an anthology by a series of editors, consisting of chapters and sentences that often do not seem to be closely connected to each other. As a translator, Lau has always attended to the truth of meaning, the accuracy of the translation, and the readers’ responses. Is Lau’s rendering influenced by his understanding of Lao Tzu as a philosophy and a text, as well as his own views of translation? In order to answer the question, this talk will adopt a comparative method to reveal how Lau’s translation reflects his understanding of Lao Tzu mentioned above.