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Erudite confusion

By Chitralekha Basu | China Daily | Updated: 2009-06-09 08:08

Erudite confusion

Dressed in a sharp, light summer frock, Professor Yu Dan sits in the cafeteria of a posh Beijing hotel, sipping from a largish glass of green tea. Just back from a book tour in London, where the English translation of her phenomenally-successful discourse on Confucian ideas was launched with due fanfare, the professor of media studies with Beijing Normal University-turned TV show hostess-turned bestseller-author is visibly glowing.

Booked for a month-long tour to promote the new English edition of her work - Confucius from the Heart: Ancient Wisdom for Today's World, (translated by Esther Tyldesley and published by Pan Macmillan in collaboration with Zhonghua Books) - across Chinese mainland and abroad, Yu seems raring to go. Like her book, based on a series of lectures she presented on CCTV's Lecture Room, she comes across as sensitive, easy-going, genial, sometimes digressive but hugely accessible.

After all, you don't sell four million copies everyday, as the Chinese original, Thinking of the Analects of Confucius, has done in the three years that it has been around. This time Pan Macmillan has put out a modest 20,000 copies in English for Asia Pacific, according to Daniel Watts, who heads the publishing chain in the region, not counting the stocks earmarked for the UK, USA and Australia.

Erudite confusion

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