Library of Chinese Classics: Xunzi

Xunzi in a two volume hardback set from Library of Chinese Classics. This set is in English and simplified Chinese and is a wonderful addition to any library. This set of Xunzi was published by the Hunan Renmin Publishing House in 2010 and there are 1007 pages. Xunzi was translated into English by John Knoblock.Xunzi book in Library of Chinese Classics

Xunzi Synopsis

Xunzi is a collection of political writings by the late Warring States period philosopher Xunzi(also known as Xun Kuang). He was one of the three great Confucians . The book is composed of 32 “books” or chapters covering philosophy, ethics, politics, military affairs, education, etc.

Many academics believe that he was one of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. Unlike the work of his two predecessors(Confucius and Mencius) he wrote complete essays. In these essays Xunzi defends his own interpretation of the Confucian position and attacks the positions of others. Xunzi critically appraised the academic thinking of the materialism of ancient China and was against the belief of the mandate of heaven.

Xunzi held the belief that human nature is evil and he believed in combining ritual principles and law and attaching equal importance to moral enlightenment and rule by law. In the early Chinese tradition, Xunzi’s writings are arguably the most sophisticated and philosophically developed. Although Xunzi is one of the greatest philosophers in the Chinese tradition, he is not well known in the West and this is the first complete English translation of Xunzi.

Xunzi is one of Library of Chinese Classics and there are over 60 books in the series so far. Library of Chinese Classics is a ‘mirror’ format which means that there is a page of Chinese followed by a page of English. As the books are bilingual they and suitable for readers interested in Chinese culture, learners of Chinese as well as native Chinese readers who want to read an accessible version of the classics. Since their publication, they have been immensely popular and Library of Chinese Classics has also been translated into many other languages.

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