Stephen Owen has translated all of Du Fu. Big deal, you say, people are always translating other people? Well, what if I tell you that (to quote Jon, who sent the link to me) “It’s a remarkable piece of work! The translations are beautifully lucid and can be read as poetry, but it’s a critical edition and so has a big, unobstrusive, very satisfying apparatus. Oh, and it’s 3,000 pages long.” Sounds great, you say, I wish I could afford things like that? Well, what if I tell you De Gruyter has put the whole thing online to download for free? Just click the “Table of Contents” link and you’ll get a page from which you can download pdfs of as many sections as you want. Here’s their Aims and Scope statement:
The Complete Poetry of Du Fu presents a complete scholarly translation of Chinese literature alongside the original text in a critical edition. The English translation is more scholarly than vernacular Chinese translations, and it is compelled to address problems that even the best traditional commentaries overlook.
The main body of the text is a facing page translation and critical edition of the earliest Song editions and other sources. For convenience the translations are arranged following the sequence in Qiu Zhao’an’s Du shi xiangzhu (although Qiu’s text is not followed). Basic footnotes are included when the translation needs clarification or supplement. Endnotes provide sources, textual notes, and a limited discussion of problem passages. A supplement references commonly used allusions, their sources, and where they can be found in the translation.
Scholars know that there is scarcely a Du Fu poem whose interpretation is uncontested. The scholar may use this as a baseline to agree or disagree. Other readers can feel confident that this is a credible reading of the text within the tradition. A reader with a basic understanding of the language of Chinese poetry can use this to facilitate reading Du Fu, which can present problems for even the most learned reader.
This is an amazing gift to the world from De Gruyter, and I offer them my heartfelt appreciation. Also, Owen is a good guy and an enjoyable writer; from the “Du Fu Lore and Translation Conventions” section, here’s a sample:
Who’s Hu? Non-Han
By and large people doing Tang studies have fortunately abandoned the blanket term “barbarian” for the non-Han peoples with whom the Tang was engaged. I restrict “barbarian” to the word lu 虜, a contemptuous, pejorative term for non-Han without ethnic distinction. There are archaic terms, there are vague regional terms, and precise designations of peoples and polities. After long brooding I have decided to use the Romanization for Hu 胡. Hu refers primarily to the Indo-European inhabitants of Central Asia, such as the Sogdians, but it was applied more loosely to all non-Han peoples of the north and northwest. In Du Fu it is also used for northeasterners and on rare occasions, for the Tibetans. Du Fu often describes the rebels as Hu, so when he refers to the Uighurs, who were Tang allies, he often does so with ethnic precision, Huihu 回鶻. The northeastern peoples were most commonly referred to as Yi 夷, though sometimes Du Fu uses the more precise ethnic designations “Blond-heads,” huangtou 黃頭, and Xi 奚. Toward the west were the Qiang 羌, between the Tibetans, the Uighurs, and the Chinese. The Tibetans were China’s major adversary in the eighth century. They are often referred to anachronistically as the Rong 戎 or the Dog Rong, Quanrong 犬戎, the ancient adversaries of the Zhou dynasty. The equally anachronistic term for northern peoples was Di 狄. This is similar to the Magyars becoming Hun-garians, or the Germans in World War I being referred to as “Huns.”
(I should note that there is only one “Allusions” section, even though it is listed for each volume, so you only have to download it once.) Thanks, Jon!