The man, his times, and his philosophical sayings--not wholly represented by the familiar fortune cookie...

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CONFUCIUS: In Life and Legend

The man, his times, and his philosophical sayings--not wholly represented by the familiar fortune cookie aphorisms--illuminated for Western readers. Betty Kelen wisely describes Confucius' troubled life and explicitly illustrates the cultural, social, and political chaos of his time (feudal China six centuries before Christ) before introducing his reflections on harmony, unity and order--the basis of his benevolent humanism. Confucius was a simple, pragmatic man and his recorded doctrines, e.g. The Superior Man, The Path, are uncomplicated; Chinese traditions and verbal expression, however, have often bewildered the outsider. Kelen bridges the cultural gap and reveals the subtleties of Chinese thought and the delicacy of unfamiliar manners. It becomes possible then to understand and empathize with Confucius and his ideals, even those like filial respect toward authority which are presently challenged. Confucian thought, represented in the Analects and other recorded teachings, at one time were called the ""Constitution of China."" Kelen emphasizes here that Confucius' aim was not to set up political structures but to civilize man. Reading this biography is one step in that direction.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1971

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Nelson

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1971