Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/36

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Introduction

the I Shuo, succeeded in restoring a very large number of doubtful passages, and turned out, on the whole, what must be accepted as the closest approximation we are ever likely to get to Sun Tzŭ’s original work. This is what will hereafter be denominated the “standard text.”

The copy which I have used belongs to a re-issue dated 1877. It is in 6 pên, forming part of a well-printed set of 23 early philosophical works in 83 pên.[1] It opens with a preface by Sun Hsing-yen (largely quoted in this introduction), vindicating the traditional View of Sun Tzŭ’s life and performances, and summing up in remarkably concise fashion the evidence in its favour. This is followed by Ts‘ao Kung’s preface to his edition, and the biography of Sun Tzŭ from the Shih Chi, both translated above. Then come, firstly, Chêng Yu-hsien’s I Shuo,[2] with author’s preface, and next, a short miscellany of historical and bibliographical information entitled 孫子敘錄 Sun Tzŭ Hsü Lu, compiled by 畢以玽 Pi I-hsün. As regards the body of the work, each separate sentence is followed by a note on the text, if required, and then by the various commentaries appertaining to it, arranged in chronological order. These we shall now proceed to discuss briefly, one by one.

The Commentators.

Sun Tzŭ can boast an exceptionally long and distinguished roll of commentators, which would do honour to any classic. 歐陽修 Ou-yang Hsiu remarks on this fact, though he wrote before the tale was complete, and rather ingeniously explains it by saying that the artifices of war, being in-


  1. See my “Catalogue of Chinese Books” (Luzac and Co., 1908), no. 40.
  2. This is a discussion of 29 difficult passages in Sun Tzŭ, namely: I. 2; 26; 26; II. 9 & 10; III. 3; III & VII; III. 17; IV. 4; 6; V. 3; 10 & 11; 14; the headings of the 13 chapters, with special reference to chap. VII; VII. 5; 15 & 16; 27; 33, &c.; VIII. 1—6; IX. 11; X. 1—20; XI. 23; 31; 19; 43; VII. 12—14 & XI. 52; XI. 56; XIII. 15 & 16; 26; XIII in general.