Carine Defoort & Paul van Els. Confucius spreekt (Confucius Speaks). Antwerp: Pelckmans, 2021. ISBN: 978 94 6310 557 6.
Who was Confucius, and what can we learn from him? Twenty-five centuries after his passing, the Master is a rising star in China. Those in power use his statements to support their policies, while others draw political courage from them to resist. In Confucius Temples, parents seek his help with their child’s school performance. The Master is also regularly quoted outside of China, where many a maxim is misattributed to him (such as “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”).
What sayings are traditionally attributed to Confucius? And what do they mean? In this book, dozens of sayings are expertly translated and explained by Carine Defoort and Paul van Els. Their vivid reflections show how Confucius can continue to inspire, whether on the importance of learning or rituals, self-examination and self-improvement, or virtuous leadership – topics the world can learn from today!
Herman Van Rompuy, the former Prime Minister of Belgium and the first permanent President of the European Council, wrote a haiku to grace this book on Confucius. Here is his original haiku, with a quick translation in English:
een wijze man spreekt
leest en reist heel China rond
door de eeuwen heen
a wise man speaks
reads and travels all over China
through the centuries
More poems by Herman Van Rompuy, who is affectionately known as "Haiku Herman," can be found in his book Haiku (Gent: Poëziecentrum, 2010).
Interview with Carine Defoort about this book on Radio 1.
Our book has been reviewed by several readers. If you are interested to learn what they write, click here for a sample of their reviews.