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  • A Birthday Book for Brother Stone

A Birthday Book for Brother Stone

for David Hawkes, at Eighty

Edited by Rachel May and John Minford

English , 2003/07 The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press

Tags: Literature

229 x 152 x 27 mm , 380pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-962-996-111-4

  • US$40.00

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Also available in print / e-version

David Hawkes, described by a distinguished fellow sinologist as "the best living translator in our field, as well as one of the nicest people to have graced our profession", celebrates his eightieth birthday this year (2003). In this unusual and varied Birthday Book (a Festschrift with a difference), over forty of David's friends, students, colleagues and admirers from all over the world have come together to wish him a happy birthday, and to celebrate the man, and his exceptional scholarly and creative achievements.

David Hawkes is best known for his masterful translations, in which he has set the highest standards, not only of scholarship, but also of creative ingenuity and eloquence, standards that have inspired a whole generation of translators. But as readers will discover from this rich collection, the books are only part of the story: over the years their author has touched and inspired a great number of people — as teacher, friend, and mentor — perhaps more deeply than his own modesty has allowed him to realise. 

This book is divided into three parts. The first part consists of informal reminiscences, poems and personal contributions of various kinds; the second part brings together essays, both sinological and general; the third and last part consists of translations. The volume is embellished by a number of photographs, paintings, and pieces of calligraphy. The publication has been generously supported by the Hong Kong Translation Society, to honour one of the great scholars of our time.

About David Hawkes

David Hawkes was born on 6 July, 1923. He studied Classics (Latin and Greek) for a year (1942) in the War and Classical Chinese for two and a half years (1945–1948) after the War at Oxford, followed by three years as a research student at the National University in Beiping/Peking (1948–1951). He was Professor of Chinese at Oxford University from 1960 to 1971, and a Fellow of All Souls College from 1973 to 1983, after which he and his wife Jean went to live in Wales. In more recent years they have returned to live in Oxford.

His publications include The Songs of the South (Oxford, 1959, greatly revised edition, Penguin, 1985), A Little Primer of Tu Fu (Oxford, 1967, reprinted as a Renditions Paperback, Hong Kong, 1987), and The Story of the Stone, volumes 1–3 (Penguin, 1973–1980). In 2000 the Centre for Literature and Translation of Lingnan University, Hong Kong, published a facsimile edition of his notebooks, kept during the period of the Stone translation. Recently he has turned his hand to Chinese drama, and translated the Yuan zaju play Liu Yi and the Dragon Princess. The arias from this translation were published in 2001 in the Hong Kong Translation Quarterly (vols. 21/22). The play in its entirety is now being published by The Chinese University Press, which previously, in 1989, issued a collection of his essays under the title Classical, Modern and Humane: Essays in Chinese Literature (the title of his 1961 Inaugural Lecture at Oxford).

Rachel May was born in 1951, the daughter of David and Jean Hawkes. She studied English Literature, and taught English in China (1980–1982). She has collaborated on many translations from the Chinese, most recently the Martial Arts novels of the Hong Kong novelist Louis Cha. She also works as a literary editor. Her novel Love in a Chinese Garden was published by Harlequin Books in 1997.

John Minford was born in 1946. He studied Chinese with David Hawkes at Oxford, and later at the Australian National University, with Liu Ts’un-yan. He has taught in China, Hong Kong and New Zealand. He translated the last two volumes of the Penguin Stone (1982–1986), and edited, with Joseph S. M. Lau, Chinese Classical Literature: An Anthology of Translations (New York & Hong Kong, 2000).

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