Han Fei Tzu

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Columbia University Press, 1964 - Poetry - 134 pages
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Han Fei Tzu (280?-233 B.C.) was a prince of the ruling house of the small state of Han. A representative of the Fa-chia, or Legalist, school of philosophy, he produced the final and most readable exposition of its theories. Ironically, Han Fei Tzu's advice was heeded not by the king of Han but by the king of Ch'in, who, soon after ascending the throne in 246 B.C., conquered all of China and, as First Emperor of the Ch'in, established the Ch'in dynasty. Han Fei Tzu, sent as an envoy to Ch'in in 234 B.C., was at first welcomed by the king but later, on a royal minister's urging, was cast into prison, where he committed suicide. Han Fei Tzu's handbook for the ruler, which includes a few chapters for the guidance of his ministers, deals with the problem of preserving and strengthening the state. There are sections on the way of the ruler, on standards, on the use of power and of punishment and favor. Dangers to be avoided by the ruler are specified, as are precautions to be taken. Witty, trenchant, sophisticated, and cynical, the Han Fei Tzu has been read in every age. It retains its interest today when, perhaps more than ever before, men are concerned with the nature and use of power.
 

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Contents

THE WAY OF THE RULER
16
THE TWO HANDLES
30
THE EIGHT VILLAINIES
43
THE DIFFICULTIES OF PERSUASION
73
FACING SOUTH
90
EMINENCE IN LEARNING
118
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About the author (1964)

Burton Watson is one of the world's best-known translators from the Chinese and Japanese. His translations include The Lotus Sutra, The Vimalakirti Sutra, Ryokan: Zen Monk-Poet of Japan, Saigyo: Poems of a Mountain Home, and The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century, all published by Columbia.

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