William Dolby

Classical Chinese Translations and Research

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About William Dolby

Bill, Air Force, 1950s In Cambridge, 1960

William (Bill) Dolby (1936-2015) spent his life surpassing academic excellence. Bill never stopped working, always freely sharing his deep love of his subject and in so doing he created a truly inspirational and sound foundation in those who took the time to listen. As a true master, the respect he gained from his peers and students, friends and colleagues was indisputably a priceless rarity.

From the very early days when he trained in the Royal Air Force and studied at the London School of Oriental Studies, through his First Class Honours Degree and PHD at Christs College in Cambridge and well past his retirement as a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, Department of Oriental Studies, Bill enthusiastically devoted himself to his Classical Chinese translations, projects and research of Chinese playwrights and poets. He produced over forty publications many of which never reached the light day. This was because Bill had one fault. He never pushed his work. He passed on his knowledge and insight with passion, enjoyed expanding on various topics with unrivalled insight and he translated and produced output that surpassed belief. But marketing was not one of his attributes.

A past student fondly recalled how Bill used to 'air-draw' Chinese characters as he walked to work. Others remember the passionate evocation that silenced them as they tried to catch every drop and many recall the humorous anecdotes and historical tales that brightened-up lectures.

Kuala Lumpur, 1966 In Cambridge, 1960

Here and now we are working hard to publish his work. Thankfully, he left thousands of documents, many of which we have not yet opened. However, the Chinese Characters in most of them have been lost. We are therefore working hard to reinsert those characters (where possible), edit and then publish them.

We do this for the benefit of future students and to bring to light the immense power and history behind a fantastic era.

1. Royal Air Force, around 1955 ........ 2. Home in Edinburgh, 2014............3. On the River, Cambridge, 1960 ..........4. In Kuala Lumpur, 1965 ........... 5. With the department of Asian Studies at Edinburgh University (William Dolby, Frank Chow, John Scott and Kennth Ho)