©2003 Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America
I am fluent in modern Chinese, but the narrator's pronouciation is so awful that I couldn't understand what he was saying without going back to the ancient original. This translation also suffers from too many commentaries, two hours introduction and 81 commentary made this book very unwieldly, the philosophical translation (or rather, philosophical commentaries) also render this edition arcane at best, but if you are a sinologist, I think this book will still be of interest to you.
If this were a meal, it would be a chicken, boiled until all flavor is lost and poured down the drain.
I have many translations of the Tao Te Ching. Every new translation usually brings some wonderful contribution to the experience, but I have yet to discover what the contribution here is.
I usually enjoy insightful commentary on the text many translations offer. I love the glimpses of cultural insight and explanations many translations and commentaries provide. This reads like an academic treatment that was refused for publication by philosophical journals.
The translation is ineloquent and sterile. The commentary is pretentious and haughty. It takes more than three hours of self-congratulatory introduction before the translation even begins.
Even in translation, it's clear from the whole of available translations the Tao Te Ching is a work of eloquence and beauty. Alas, neither has managed to survive this edition.
I expected an explanation of the Dao De Jing. I got philosophy geek speak that made a confusing manuscript much more confusing! Maybe if you are a Philosophy major this book is for you!
"A Bit Hard Going"
If you are going to buy this bear in mind that it doesn't get into the Dao itself until half way through the recording. The first half is taken up by all the explanation about the translation and the justification behind their interpretation. I understand the complexity of translating something like the Dao De Jing but it was a little confusing listening to a 4 hour introduction. Several times I wasn't sure whether they had actually started talking about the Dao but they hadn't so bear this in mind. If you want to get straight into it, skip to part 4.
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