Tao Te Ching

A Book about the Way and the Power of the Way

In her notes on the text of this edition of the Tao Te Ching, Le Guin writes, “This is a rendition, not a translation.” Instead of translating the work, Le Guin studied many other translations, considered where and how those translators made various choices, and then brought her own judgment (and keen ear) to bear on the text. Without ruling on her loyalty to the original (about which I am not qualified to comment), I can say that the poems here are lovely, and turning to them at the end of many a dark day has felt like holding the gift of a small, fierce light. I’ve no idea if I am capable of being a follower of The Way, but reading these words, I can see how Le Guin was—and I can wonder at what it might be like to follow her lead.