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Book Of Chuang Tzu [Paperback]

Martin Palmer
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Paperback, March 7 1996 --  
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Penguin Classics Book Of Chuang Tzu Penguin Classics Book Of Chuang Tzu 4.6 out of 5 stars (10)
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Book Description

March 7 1996 Arkana
A Chinese classic, the "Chuang Tzu" was written sometime in the 14th century BC, and consists of original teachings, stories, tales and jokes told by Master Chuang, as well as others which have coalesced round his name. It is considered second only to the "Tao Te Ching", but the two books coundn't be more different. Where the "Tao Te Ching" is distant and proverbial in style, the "Chuang Tze" buzzes with life and with insights, often with considerable humour behind them. "Chuang Tzu"'s development of what later became known as Taoism lies in his advocacy of change as fundamental to life, and of the desire to cling on to things as being the basic problem of suffering and fustration. His writing combines wisdom and wit, and does not present a case so much as engage in argument and debate with the reader.

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About the Author

The Taoist author named Chuang-tzu is estimated to have lived in the fourth century BCE, between 399 and 255 BCE. Martin Palmer is Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture. Currently he is working with the China Taoist Association on a project to protect the main Taoist sacred Mountains of China. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars aint enough! Jan. 8 2004
By Frikle
Chuang Tzu is considered to have been a follower of the Taoist school of thought, influenced by Lao Tzu. However, we know much more about Chuang Tzu. He can be said to fit the classic ideal of a Taoist as a carefree ascetic with a sense of humour living in the forest in harmony with nature. This is certainly the portrayal of him in the book.
It is unclear who wrote the work and many authorities consider only the first few chapters as authentic. That's why it's good to get a translation that covers all the chapters as from reading them it's possible to get the feeling that even if are were a forgery, they are a worthwhile, beautiful forgery.
There are some footnotes but the book itself is large sections of narrative/prose/poetry that requires little external explanation. The translation probably leans towards poetic paraphrase over precise equality which I think is good for classic texts. The illustrations are great and really enhance the value of the book as a coherent whole.
A book of moving, funny, sad, chaotic, intuitive parables, stories, allegories and anecdotes that feel like they're speaking to you directly from over 2000 years ago.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic translation of Chuang Tzu March 14 2000
This is a great version of the Chuang Tzu containing all of the Inner, Outer and Miscellaneous chapters. Martin Palmer begins the book with a well written and educational preface and introduction going into the details of his translation and the Taoist concepts and ideas in the book.
He states: "The Book of Chuang Tzu is like a travelogue. As such, it meanders between continents, pauses to discuss diet, gives exchange rates, breaks off to speculate, offers a bus timetable, tells an amusing incident, quotes from poetry, relates a story, cites scripture."
"And always listen out for the mocking laughter of Chuang Tzu. This can be heard most when you start to make grand schemes out of the bits, or wondrous philosophies out of the hints and jokes. For ultimately this is not one book but a variety of voices swapping stories and bouncing ideas off each other, with Chuang Tzu striding through the whole, joking, laughing, arguing and interrupting."
Indeed the Chuang Tzu does all these things. Providing a fascinating and enlightening glimpse, using heavy doses of humor and wit, into the path of Tao. Experience is all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous! June 3 2001
As a long-time Chuang-Tzu enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed this translation. I imagine this would be very enjoyable to the general reader; I have read many commentaries on the meaning of Chuang-Tzu's philosophy (Victor Mair's, Allinson's, Wing-Tsit Chan's, A.C. Graham's, etc.) so my perspective is "biased" in particular way- I like the absurdity and relativistic notions, sort of a Lewis Carroll point of view. This translation fits in with my predilictions nicely. Chuang-tzu takes some pondering, and any translation that makes it too simple is doing the reader an injustice. This one captures all the irony and absurdity, yet leaves plenty of room for befuddlement. It contains ALL the chapters, not just the inner ones. Highly recommended!! I keep this by the bed along with The People's Guide to Mexico, another perennial favorite!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taoism is the way to go Oct. 9 2000
By A Customer
Perhaps what makes Taoism so great is that it is a religion based on a philosophy and not divine creatures that one imagines in his head. The Chuang Tzu is not only a practical approach to the Tao but also a sarcastic lecture on governments, norms, moral obligations and the un-natural. Chuang Tzu is what you might call a modern hippie with anarchy in his mind and nature his source of life.
If you like this book, then you'll love the Lieh Tzu.
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4.0 out of 5 stars not the best - but still good April 30 2003
By Bao Pu
I prefer Burton Watson's translation to Palmer and Breuilly's, especially after reading parts in the Chinese text. But Palmer and Breuilly won't steer U wrong though. No, this is a decent translation of the entire text, which is not a common sight! Only Burton Watson, James Legge, and Victor Mair have put out complete Zhuangzi translations. AC Graham's translation is also quite good.
embrace simplicity
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