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Burton Watson

Burton Watson (1925 - 2017) was the foremost English-language translator of classical Chinese and Japanese literature. Among his many books are individual translated volumes of the poets Tu Fu, Su Tung-p’o, Han Shan, Lu Yu, Po Chü-yi, Gensei, and Ryōkan; the philosophers Chuang Tzu, Confucius, Mencius, Mo Tzu, Hsün Tzu, and Han Fei Tzu; the historian Ssu-ma Ch’ien; and Buddhist texts such as The Lotus Sutra and The Vimalakirti Sutra. He is the editor and translator of The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry and, with Hiroaki Sato, of a prolific anthology of Japanese poetry, From the Country of Eight Islands. He received the Gold Medal Award presented by the Translation Center at Columbia University in 1979 and the PEN Translation Prize twice, in 1981 and 1995. In 2015, Watson was selected as the recipient of the 2015 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, one of PEN's most prestigious lifetime achievement awards.