[KS] Response: Request to the Members Regarding an Appropriate Translation, Etc. from Agnieszka Smiatacz

Frank Joseph Shulman fshulman at umd.edu
Tue Mar 1 09:11:07 EST 2011

Professor Jonathan Chaves of George Washington University, an expert on Chinese poetry and the author/editor of such works as "Mei Yao-ch'en and the Development of Early Sung Poetry" (1976) and the "Columbia Book of Later Chinese Poetry: Yuan, Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties" (1986), has kindly responded to the February 28th inquiry below from Agnieszka Smiatacz (Academy of Korean Studies).  He did so in response to the inquiry that I forwarded to him.  I am sharing Professor Chaves' response with the Korean Studies listserve in order that everyone may benefit.

Frank Joseph Shulman

March 1, 2011

Frank Joseph Shulman
Bibliographer, Editor and Consultant for Reference Publications in Asian Studies
9225 Limestone Place
College Park, Maryland 20740-3943 (U.S.A.)
E-mail: fshulman at umd.edu
From: Jonathan Chaves [jchaves at gwu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2011 8:35 AM
To: Frank Joseph Shulman; magnesmerald at yahoo.co.uk
Subject: Fwd: FW: [KS] Request to the Members

This is the second half of a quatrain by the great Neo-Confucian (理學)  thinker, Chu Hsi/Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200), whose ideas exerted enormous influence in Korea and Japan as well as in China. Chu was a good poet as well, although this one is closer to straight-forward moral indoctrination than to poetry in the full sense:

 勸學      宋•朱熹

In youth, studying comes easily,  in old age--hard to do!

Do not look lightly on even one moment of your precious time.

Before one has woken from a dream of spring plants beside a lovely pool,

Before the steps, paulownia leaves already make autumn sounds.

Note:  草 in this usage really applies to all plants, flowers included, "flora". There has been limitless talk about the wu-t'ung/wutong tree, with many claiming it really isn't the "paulownia," but I continue to use the latter as being a good poetic equivalent. . . .

Jonathan Chaves, professor of Chinese
The George Washington University
202--994-6474; fax 202--994-1512
703--472-3204 cell; jchaves at gwu.edu


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