Warp, Weft, and Way

A Group Blog of Chinese and Comparative Philosophy

Kohn’s Zhuangzi

On a tip from friend of the blog and guest blogger, Mark Saltveit, here’s a link to a translation of the Zhuangzi by Livia Kohn. You can preview part of it by clicking on the “Google Preview.” Anyone know anything about this? It seems to have been translated for a non-academic press — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Any thoughts about Kohn’s translation choices, either based on the Google preview or from knowledge of the translation otherwise acquired?


August 2, 2011 - Posted by | Daoism, Taoism, Translation, Zhuangzi


  1. This is a pretty bold attempt at modernization, which I don’t feel qualified to judge. I’m curious what folks here think. For example, chapter 29:

    “Look at the wealthy: their ears are overwhelmed by the sounds of rock and pop, blues and rap; their mouths are filled with meat and wine. These rouse their intention for more of the same so they completely forget their real position in the greater scheme of things — this is confusion.”

    Comment by Mark Saltveit | August 3, 2011 | Reply

  2. I deeply respect Livia Kohn, both as an author and a practising Daoist. Aside from her scholarship in Daoist studies, she also belongs to a legitimate Daoist lineage (so far as I understand).

    Judging by the preview, one should see this book as part of the continuing efforts to establish and popularise Daoism in the West. However, one should not see this as a run-of-the-mill Zhuangzi translation – I’m definitely very interested in how Livia Kohn, coming from both a Daojiao and an academic background, explains Zhuangzi.

    I’m definitely going to buy a copy for my family.

    Comment by Justice&Mercy | August 3, 2011 | Reply

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