chapter  30
5 Pages

Mencius on the Mind with I. A. Richards’ Reply 1932

WithArthur Waley

Arthur Waley employed at the British Museum, and a self-taught orientalist who never visited the Far East, is best-known for his numerous translations from Chinese and Japanese, including 170 Chinese Poems. Chinese-English dictionaries are concerned with the language in general, not particularly with early Chinese; and the only way to discover what Mencius did and what he did not mean is to read as much early Chinese as possible. The discovery that Mencius is not aimed at intellectuals has come as something of a shock to Dr Richards. In view of the impression his review is intended to convey, author may perhaps say that no Chinese-English dictionary was used at any point in the work. The Chinese philosopher's aim was to establish a connection between his own opinions and a set of accepted ideas. The fact that Dr Richards ignores all this makes him imagine Chinese to be ambiguous.