Burton Watson

Born in 1925 in New York, Burton Watson was educated at Columbia University, and received his doctorate in 1956. He also studied at Kyoto University as a Ford Foundation Overseas Fellow, and taught Chinese and Japanese language and literature at Kyoto, Columbia and Stanford. In 1979 he received the Gold Medal Award of the Translation Center at Columbia University. In 1981 he received the PEN Translation Prize. He now lives in Japan.

Burton Watson is a founding member of the Renditions Advisory Board, and served as Renditions Fellow in 1989-90. He has published over twenty volumes of translations from and studies of Chinese and Japanese literature. His translations of Hou Han Shu; Shi ji and the poems of Li Bai, Bai Juyi and Lu You are published in Renditions No.1, Nos. 21 & 22, Nos. 33 & 34, and No. 49. His translations of Records of the Grand Historian are published in the Renditions Book series.

Burton Watson is among the best loved of American translators working from Asian languages. The natural ease and quiet elegance of Watson's use of language is particularly suited to the work of such poets as Wang Wei, Bai Juyi and Lu You. The exhibits here are taken from Watson's translations of Bai Juyi, one of his faviourite poets.

Major Publications:

  • Po Chu-i: Selected Poems. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
  • Masaoka Shiki: Selected Poems. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
  • The Vimalakirti Sutra. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
  • Letters of Nichire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.
  • Selected Poems of Su Tung-Po. Port Townsend, Wash.: Copper Canyon Press, 1994.
  • The Lotus Sutra. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.
  • The Tso Chuan: Selections from China's Oldest Narrative History. New York: Columbia
       University Press, 1989.
  • Ssu-ma ChíŽien: the Historian & His Work. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms
       International, 1985.
  • The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: from the Early Times to the
       13th Century
    . New York: Columbia University Press, 1984.
  • From the Country of Eight Islands: an Anthology of Japanese Poetry. Garden City, New
       York: Anchor Books, 1981.
  • Japanese Literature in Chinese. New York: Columbia University Press, 1975-1976. Courtier &
       Commoner in Ancient China. New York: Columbia University Press, 1974.
  • The Old Man Who Does As He Pleases: Selected Poetry and Prose of Lu Yu. New York:
       Columbia University Press, 1973.
  • Chinese Lyricism: Shih Poems from the 2nd to the 12th Century. New York: Columbia
       University Press, 1971.
  • Chinese Rhyme Prose: fu of Han & the Six Dynasties Period. New York: Columbia
       University Press, 1971.
  • The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York: Columbia University Press, 1968.
  • An Introduction to Sung Poetry. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1967.
  • Basic Writings of Mo Tzu Hsun Tzu and Han Fei Tzu. New York: Columbia University Press,
       1967.
  • Su Tung-píŽo: Selection from a Sung Dynasty Poet. New York: Columbia University Press,
       1965.
  • Cold Mountain 100 Poems. New York: Grove, 1962; Cape: London, 1970.
  • Early Chinese Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1962.
  • Records of The Grand Historian of China. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961.
       Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty I & II; Qin dynasty. Hong Kong; New York:
       Renditions-Columbia University Press, 1993.

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