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Grand Inspiritors

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Chuang Chou

(a.k.a. Chuang tzu, Chuang Tzu, Chuang Tse, Chuang Tsu, Chuangtse, Zhuang Zi, Zhuangzi)

The Serene Master of ancient China, whose work reminds us that, as the Lao Tzu says, "If no one laughs at it, it can't be called the Way."

Internet Resources:


  • Beyond the bibliographies and suggestions in the links above, you might try the Library of Congress Catalogs.

  • Because of variant transliterations, etc., it's difficult to get a complete listing for Chuang at Amazon Books - or anywhere else, for that matter. These are the important English translations that are readily available at this time, as far as I know. If you think that I'm missing some other important ones, please let me know.
    NOTE: If you link from here to Amazon.com and then buy a new book, 5 to 15% of your purchase price will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    • The Book of Chuang Tzu translated by Elizabeth Breuilly, Chang Wai Ming (Contributor), Ramsay, Martin Palmer, Jay Ramsay (Contributor) Paperback - 320 pages (May 1996) Arkana; ISBN: 0140194886. This version, with which I am not familiar, has won respect from scholars.

    • Chuang tsu: Inner chapters. A new translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English. Photography by Jane English. Calligraphy by Gia-fu Feng. New York, Vintage Books [1974] LC Call No.: BL1900.C5 F38 1974b The original, that I enjoyed, is out of print, however, there are new incarnations:
      A new paperback version with additional photographs by Jane English. Reprint edition (March 1997) Earth Heart; ISBN: 0934747164
      Audio Cassette Abridged edition (January 1999) Audio Literature; ISBN: 1574532715

    • Burton Watson's translation is the favorite of many readers over the years, and is highly respected by scholars. It's the one I go back to read again and again. Versions available:
      Chuang Tzu : Basic Writings. Paperback - 159 pages Reprint edition (April 1996) Columbia Univ Pr; ISBN: 0231105959. This collection includes the seven "inner chapters," three of the "outer chapters," and one of the "miscellaneous chapters."
      The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York, Columbia University Press, 1968 LC Call No.: BL1900.C5 W34; Hardcover 499 pages (October 1968) Columbia Univ Pr; ISBN: 0231031475

    • Chuang-tzu: the seven inner chapters and other writings from the book Chuang-tzu, translated by A[ngus] C[harles] Graham (London Boston, Allen & Unwin. 1981). This highly acclaimed translation is out of print at the present time.

    • The Essential Chuang Tzu, translated from the Chinese by Sam Hamill and J. P. Seaton.
      Hardcover - 192 pages 1 Ed edition (October 1998) Shambhala Pubns; ISBN: 1570623368
      Paperback - 192 pages (November 1999) Shambhala Pubns; ISBN: 1570624577
      From the foreword by Irving Yucheng Lo: "The book is a collaborative effort by two of the most talented wordsmiths of their generation, and it employs a language that is vibrant and colorful. It aims at readability even to the extent of ignoring formal fidelity in translation." Yes that's true but I've been enjoying reading it nevertheless -- (TH)

    • The Essential Tao by Thomas Cleary (Translator) Hardcover - 168 pages (January 1998) Book Sales; ISBN: 0785809058
      This contains Cleary's original translations of Tao Te Ching as well as the first seven chapters of the Chuang Tzu, with explanations.

    • Wandering on the Way : Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu by Victor H. Mair Paperback - 464 pages (January 1998) Univ of Hawaii Pr; ISBN: 082482038X
      Mair also had a book called Experimental Essays on Chuang-Tzu Mair's translation is excellent and a pleasure to read.

    • Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton, Edgar Neville Paperback (March 1988) W W Norton & Co; ISBN: 0811201031. Merton, the famous writer and trappist monk, introduces Chuang from his own point of view. This is not a direct translation from the ancient Chinese, but rather an interpretation.

    • Zhuangzi Speaks: The Music of Nature C. C. Tsai, Translated by B. Bruya. Paperback - 142 pages (August 1992) Princeton Univ Pr; ISBN: 0691008825
      (from the Publisher) "Inspired by his fascination with the wisdom of this sage, the immensely popular Taiwanese cartoonist Tsai Chih Chung created a bestselling Chinese comic book. Tsai had his cartoon characters enact the key parables of Zhuangzi (pronounced jwawngdz), and he rendered Zhuangzi's most enlightening sayings into modern Chinese. Through Tsai's enthusiasm and skill, the earliest and core parts of the Zhuangzi were thus made accessible to millions of Chinese-speaking people with no other real chance of appreciating this major Daoist text. Translated into English by Brian Bruya, the comic book is now available to a Western audience."
      The Dao of Zhuangzi : The Harmony of Nature. Paperback - 128 pages (October 1, 1997) Doubleday; ISBN: 0385487428. "In The Dao of Zhangzi, Tsai Chih Chung brings humorously to life new portions of the Dao--and extends the reach of his early efforts in profound and entertaining ways."


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This page revised April 21, 2002
Last updated June 18, 2002
Contact: t@hefko.net