Front Page Titles (by Subject) PREFACE. - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
PREFACE. - Mencius, The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius 
The Chinese Classics: Translated into English with Preliminary Essays and Explanatory Notes by James Legge. Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius. (London: N. Trübner, 1875).
Part of: The Chinese Classics
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
LIFE AND WORKS
with essays and notes.
JAMES LEGGE, D.D., LL.D.
TRÜBNER & CO., 57 & 59, LUDGATE HILL
[All Rights reserved.]
JOHN CHILDS AND SON, PRINTERS
When the author, in 1867, published “The Life and Teachings of Confucius,” he intimated that it would be followed by the present volume, “as soon as the publisher should feel authorized by public encouragement to go forward with the undertaking.” It was not long till the publisher gave him notice that he was ready to go to press with an edition of Mencius, which might therefore have appeared in 1868. By that time, however, the author was occupied with the fourth and fifth volumes of his larger Work, containing the ancient poetry of China, and the history of the feudal kingdom of Chow from bc 721 to 480; and it was not till towards the end of 1872 that the publication of the fifth volume was completed.
The author then began to take Mencius in hand, and to give the translation and notes in the second volume of his larger Work a careful revision. That was published in 1861, and, as a result of his studies during the intervening years, he saw that some improvement might be effected in his earlier labours. He therefore wrote out afresh the translation of the seven Books of Mencius, and the notes also with a special view to their suitability to an edition of the Chinese philosopher for general readers. The volume thus prepared is now submitted to the Public.
In the preface to the former volume the author referred to a re-publication of his translation of the Chinese Works contained in it in the United States, and mentioned that the appearance of that re-publication was a principal reason why his publisher had asked him to issue a popular edition of the Chinese Classics in his own name. The title-page of the volume, moreover, says expressly that it was “reproduced for general readers from the author’s Work, containing the original Text, &c.” If Dr John Heinrich Plath of Münich had taken the trouble to read the preface or even the title-page, he would hardly have done the injustice to the author which appears in his “Confucius und Seiner Schüler Leben und Lehren.” There, in his “Leben des Confucius, 1,” on p. 15, he has said that “The Life and Teachings of Confucius is a delusion practised on the Public, being a mere reprint of the author’s Translations in his Chinese Classics, without the Chinese Text, and with his short Life of Confucius.” The author cannot suppose that Dr Plath does not understand plain English sufficiently well to have saved him from such a misrepresentation. He did not practise any delusion on the Public, and it ought not to have been even insinuated that he had been guilty of such a thing.
London, 1st March, 1874.