Essays

A Forgotten Himalayan Love Gospel

Jonathan Keir on translating a little-known classic by Tang Junyi

The Western reader stands before the untranslated continent of Chinese literature like Columbus in 1492: take me to the treasure! There is far more, of course, than one can ever hope to load back onto the boat. An egregious recent case of neglect, to cite but one example, is the great Chinese translator of Don Quijote, Yang Jiang (杨绛 1911-2016), whose late masterpiece Reaching the Brink of Life (走到人生边上) has not yet been rendered in English (the same cannot, fortunately, be said for her husband Qian Zhongshu’s equally deserving Fortress Besieged). 

Another shamefully forgotten giant of 20th century Chinese letters is Tang Junyi (唐君毅 1909-1978).