The seventh volume of “Mémoires concernant l’histoire, les sciences, les arts, les mœurs, les usages, &c., des Chinois” is devoted to the Art of War, and contains, amongst other treatises, “Les Treize Articles de Sun-tse,” translated from the Chinese by a Jesuit Father, Joseph Amiot. Père Amiot appears to have enjoyed no small reputation as a sinologue in his day, and the field of his labours was certainly extensive. But his so-called translation of Sun Tzŭ, if placed side by side with the original, is seen at once to be little better than an imposture. It contains a great deal that Sun Tzŭ did not write, and very little indeed of what he did. Here is a fair specimen, taken from the opening sentences of chapter 5: —
Throughout the nineteenth century, which saw a wonderful development in the study of Chinese literature, no translator ventured to tackle Sun Tzŭ, although his work was known to be highly valued in China as by far the
- Published at Paris in 1782.