We are sad to learn that Professor Burton Watson, renowned Sinologist and translator of Chinese and Japanese literary classics, passed away on the evening of April 1, 2017, in Kamagata City, Chiba, Japan. He was 91.
Burton Watson received the Gold Medal Award presented by the Translation Center at Columbia University in 1979, the PEN Translation Prize in 1981 and 1995, and the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation in 2015.The CUHK Press published his Chinese Rhyme-Prose: Poems in the Fu Form from the Han and Six Dynasties Periods (http://bit.ly/1BZGJ58) . This book was selected as one of the sixty-five masterpieces for the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, and is an important work of the Calligrams: Writings from and on China, edited by Eliot Weinberger, famous literary critic in New York. Jointly published by The CUHK Press and New York Review Books, the Calligrams series of books are distributed by Random House.
In a 2005 interview with John Balcom, past president of the American Literary Translators Association, he commended Prof. Watson for his lifelong contribution to the translation of premodern classical works: “Burton Watson really needs no introduction. He is the preeminent translator of classical Chinese history, philosophy, and poetry. Through his books and translations, he has probably done more than anyone else to introduce Chinese history and classical literature to the English-speaking world. Anyone who has ever taken a course on Asian Studies or China has probably read his translations.”