Bibliography: Burton Watson


Po Chü-i

Selected Poems


The T'ang dynasty was the great age of Chinese poetry, and Po Chu-i (772-846) was one of that era's most prolific major poets. His appealing style, marked by deliberate simplicity, won him wide popularity among the Chinese public at large and made him a favorite with readers in Korea and Japan as well. From Po Chu-i's well-preserved corpus-personally compiled and arranged by the poet himself in an edition of seventy-five chapters-the esteemed translator Burton Watson has chosen 128 poems and one short prose piece that exemplify the earthy grace and deceptive simplicity of this master poet. For Po Chu-i, writing poetry was a way to expose the ills of society and an autobiographical medium to record daily activities, as well as a source of deep personal delight and satisfaction-constituting, along with wine and song, one of the chief joys of existence. Whether exposing the gluttony of arrogant palace attendants during a famine; describing the delights of drunkenly chanting new poems under the autumn moon; depicting the peaceful equanimity that comes with old age; or marveling at cool Zen repose during a heat wave...these masterfully translated poems shine with a precisely crafted artlessness that conveys the subtle delights of Chinese poetry. (blurb)

The Vimalakīrti Sutra

From, the Chinese Version by Kumarajiva


Records of the Grand Historian

Han Dynasty II


Revised edition of this seminal translation of the 史记.

Records of the Grand Historian

Han Dynasty I


Revised edition of this seminal translation of the 史记.

The Lotus Sutra


Courtier and Commoner in Ancient China

Selections from the History of the Former Han by Pan Ku


Abstract: Pan Ku's celebrated and influential History of the Former Han has been a model for dynastic history since its appearance in the first century A.D. The narrative is rich in detail and characterized by purity and economy of style. Covering the period from 206 B.C. to A.D. 23, the work consists of annals, chronological tables, treatises, and biographies, the last of which often include excepts from writings by the subjects of the biographies. Burton Watson has translated ten chapters from the biography section, including the lives of imperial princes, generals, officials, and some lesser figures: a court jester, wandering knights, court ladies, and concubines. All the chapters have been selected for their literary interest and their influence on Chinese literature and culture.

Chuang Tzu

Basic Writings


Records of the Grand Historian of China. Translated from the Shih chi of Ssu-ma Ch'ien