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“Rethinking Knowledge Through Early English Translations of Zhu Xi’s Study of Li 理”
Professor I-Hsin Chen’s new essay “Rethinking Knowledge Through Early English Translations of Zhu Xi’s Study of Li 理” (透過朱熹理學的早期英譯重思知識) (2021) has appeared in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. Her essay is a part of the Special Issue on Translating Knowledges: Within and Beyond Asia, edited by Yifan Zhu and Kyung Hye Kim. Please check out her essay through the link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1369801X.2020.1863843.
This essay analyzes the English translations of Zhu Xi’s (1130–1200) study of li by James Legge (1815–1897), Thomas McClatchie (1812–1885) and Joseph Percy Bruce (1861–1934), who were British missionaries in China and important early translators of Zhu’s works. The essay uses the perspectives provided by Arthur Schopenhauer, George Steiner and Robert J. C. Young to highlight the necessity of translation for understanding worldly realities, while demonstrating Zhu’s role as the translator and transformer of his li system. With this contextual background, the essay discusses how the different translations of li by Legge, McClatchie and Bruce propel modern and contemporary readers to rethink knowledge and appreciate the central role of translation in cross-cultural knowledge creation.