David Hawkes (Sinologist)

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David Hawkes (Chinese: 霍克思; pinyin: Huò Kèsī; Wade–Giles: Huo K'o-ssu, 6 July 1923 – 31 July 2009) was a British Sinologist. He studied Mandarin Chinese and Japanese at Oxford University between 1945 and 1947 and was a research student at the National Peking University from 1948 to 1951. During the later years of World War II he taught Japanese to military cryptolinguists and codebreakers. He was Professor of Chinese at Oxford from 1959 until 1971. From 1973 to 1983, he was a Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and subsequently became an Emeritus Fellow. He died in Oxford on Friday 31 July 2009.

David Hawkes is most well regarded for his literary translations of Chinese, having translated the poetry anthology The Songs of the South in 1959. His A Little Primer of Tu Fu is an authoritative study and translation of the Tang poet Du Fu.

His most important translated work is The Story of the Stone (also known as The Dream of the Red Chamber). Hawkes translated the first eighty chapters (which are ascribed to Cao Xueqin) and John Minford translated the Cheng-Gao continuation.

David Hawkes' translations include:

  • Ch'u Tz'u: the Songs of the South, an Ancient Chinese Anthology. (1959, revised 1985)
  • A Little Primer of Tu Fu. (1967)
  • The Story of the Stone: a Chinese Novel in Five Volumes. (1973–1980. Hawkes was responsible for volumes 1–3, chapters 1-80)
  • Liu Yi and the Dragon Princess. (Arias published in 2001, now to be published in entirety).

Other works include:

  • The Story of the Stone: a Translator's Notebooks.
  • Chinese: Classical Modern, and Humane
  • Classical, Modern and Humane: Essays in Chinese Literature.

He is the father of Rachel May, and father-in-law of translator John Minford, who dedicated the book A Birthday Book for Brother Stone: For David Hawkes, at Eighty to him.

The Hawkes Collection, his personal library of about 4,500 volumes, was donated to the National Library of Wales in the 1980s. It comprises works in Chinese, Japanese and English, including Chinese language and literature, history, philosophy, religion and drama. [1]

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