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Arthur Waley Collection

Arthur Waley

About Arthur Waley

Arthur Waley (亚瑟伟利, 1889-1966) is arguably the most well-known and respected twentieth century translator of Classical Chinese and Japanese into English and remains remains widely read today. Waley, a central figure in England’s Bloomsbury group and self-taught translator of Chinese and English, was responsible for introducing English readers to Classical Chinese poetry and The Tale of Genji among many other works. Waley was elected an honorary fellow of King's College, Cambridge in 1945, received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire honor in 1952, the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1953, and the Order of the Companions of Honor in 1956.

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About the Collection

The William Bikales and Margaret Eliot Grady Collection includes a complete set of his published work, rich in bibliographical and biographical research detail assembled over 40 years by William G. Bikales and Thomas Goldwasser. It includes most of Waley’s personal copies of his own books, a collection of correspondence from him, and many source materials used in his own translation work. The collection includes a large and focused selection of books from his personal library (which incorporated many items from the library of Waley’s life partner Beryl de Zoete), including almost all of his working library of Asian-language books and European books on Asian topics, and many important literary association publications. The collection’s European-language works include Waley’s annotated copy of Ezra Pound’s seminal book Cathay (arguably the most important work of East-West poetics), and many annotations within his Chinese and Japanese source books.  Finally, the Waley Collection contains rare editions of Classical Chinese texts and works by Chinese modernist writers, linking Waley to the founders of Chinese modernism associated with the May 4th Movement.