With the publication of volume II of W Allyn Rickett's Guanzi: Political, Economic, and Philosophical Essays from Early China (Princeton University Press, 1998), a long-neglected and poorly understood text from China's classical period should now be much more accessible to a wider audience of students, teachers, and scholars in the West. The second volume completes the translation of the 76-chapter original, and, like volume I (Princeton University Press, 1985; 2nd, revised edition, Cheng and Tsui, Boston, 2001), includes brief chapter-by-chapter introductions addressing issues of dating and content. The Guanzi has much to offer, spanning as it does the entire classical period proper; the earliest portions of the text date to the fourth or even fifth century B.C., and the work as a whole was only fixed in its present form by Liu Xiang (97–8 b.c.) late in his life, after over three centuries of accretion. Rickett's translation is the fruit of a long career spent studying this text, and it is worthy of frequent and thoughtful consultation; many of the historical issues that this translation sets before us are crucial to a deeper understanding of social and intellectual history in the classical age. To judge from contemporary sources, Guan Zhong , namesake of the text, was a popular figure during this era, around whom formulations of political philosophy and conceptions of new institutions easily accumulated over time. Recognizing this process of accumulation is crucial to placing the text in its historical context, since the Guanzi
, like so many of our texts from the classical period, is fraught with difficulties concerning authorship and dating.