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The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

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4.53 of 5 stars 4.53  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  17 reviews

This is one of the most justly celebrated texts of the Chinese tradition - impressive for both its bold philosophical imagination and its striking literary style. Accepting the challenge of translating this captivating classic in its entirety, Burton Watson has expertly rendered into English both the profound thought and the literary brilliance of the text.

Hardcover, 397 pages
Published August 22nd 1968 by Columbia University Press (first published 1967)
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Community Reviews

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James
One of the foundational texts of Chinese culture. Find me a man who has forgotten words, and I will have a word with him.



So Hakim
One of the main books of Taoism, the Chuang Tzu is actually compilation of fragmentary tales. Sometimes humorous, it often satirized Confucius as too-strict-for-life figure.

Indeed, Chuang Tzu (the writer, not the book) was very carefree person who kept away from authority. Scholars generally consider him as a proto-anarchist, and that reflects in his work. Being a major text in Eastern Philosophy, though, there have been plenty interpretations of Chuang Tzu, so I should just stop here... (Not th
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David
Apr 20, 2015 David added it
There are many copies-translations of this book. Though Lao Tzu is generally thought to be fictionalized, Chuang Tzu may be a real person. The title of this book can be many titles, but my favorite is “The Second Book of the Dao” by Thomas Cleary. Cleary was born in 1949 and graduated from Harvard in Eastern Languages. He has published hundreds of translations but remains one of the most obscure persons on the planet.
Eadweard
This book is so quotable.

This is one of the best chinese texts I've ever read, and one of the most famous ones. It's probably the most fun to read too.

Zhuangzi (and the anonymous writers) talk about and poke fun at different philosophers and ideas of the time. He/they explain their philosophy through short stories and anecdotes, often featuring legendary chinese rulers and other characters.

Some of the most memorable passages have Confucious, probably the most praised philosopher and statesman
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Drew Crownover
Great follow-up to the Tao te Ching, although I've recommended starting with this one, as the fables help explain the concepts of Taoism.
John
Dec 15, 2007 John marked it as to-read
i should really read the complete work, even though most of the text actually written by chaung tzu is in the "basic writings" by the same translator. not sure how the other material is, but you can see a significant drop it quality and subtlety in the basic writings text when you start getting into later chapters (generally agreed to be written by people other than the author of the core chapters).
Mark Saltveit
This book is essential for any serious student of Chuang-Tzu or Daoism, as it's the complete, unabridged version. Granted, the further you roam from the Inner Chapters the spottier it gets, but there are many gems in the hinterlands. (Merton's abridged version is an excellent distillation that contains several of these.)
John
Excellent work all round. Burton Watson is a skilled translator, and has given us all of the chapters instead of the usual seven. There is no better book in the universe if you're interested in freedom. I have read it many times. My copy is worn out.
John
Got this one as an e-book for a more complete version of the pocket Zhuangzi I've been carrying around with me and periodically studying for the last year. A classic of The Way, and a must read for Taoists.
Jerry Zike
Very heavy, a slow read. But, I believe the intent of the author(s)(?)is to provoke thought, not provide an entertaining read before beddies.
Gregg
You can probably get by with the "Basic Writings" or "Inner Chapters" (see below) since the complete text repeats sections at times.
Antoninus9
This is a book of Taoist parables attributed to Chuang Tzu. It's the kind of book you keep next to the bed to read over and over again.
Alex
Watson's a pretty stylin' translator. Enough notes for context; not too many to distract from the pleasure of just reading it.
David
wisdom from a long time ago which can still be applied today thanks to a wonderfully talented translator
Morris Nelms
This is my favorite book from Eastern religions/philosophy. A delight.
S.
If you thought Eastern religion/philosophy was dry toast you never read this.
Nicholas Goodwin
Good clear version of a 'Great Text'
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149093
庄子 or 莊子 Zhūangzi (c. 369 BC - c. 286 BC).
Zhuangzi, or “Master Zhuang” (also known in the Wade-Giles romanization as Chuang-tzu) was, after Laozi, one of the earliest thinkers to contribute to the philosophy that has come to be known as Daojia, or school of the Way. According to traditional dating, he was an almost exact contemporary of the Confucian thinker Mencius, but there appears to have been
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More about Zhuangzi...
The Way of Chuang Tzu Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings The Inner Chapters Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu Zhuangzi: The Essential Writings: With Selections from Traditional Commentaries

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“Men of the world who value the Way all turn to books. But books are nothing more than words. Words have value; what is of value in words is meaning. Meaning has something it is pursuing, but the thing that it is pursuing cannot be put into words and handed down. The world values words and hands down books but, though the world values them, I do not think them worth valuing. What the world takes to be values is not real value.” 17 likes
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