William Dolby

Classical Chinese Translations and Research

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Biography of Li Bai by Song Qi

Simiarly to the Ghost regirster, Bill translated and introduced this fanastic work during his time in Hong Kong (1960's).

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Preface to Ghost Register by Zhong Sicheng

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Introduced and Translated by William Dolby

  • Originally published in 'Renditions' the Chinese-English Translation Magazine of the Research Centre for Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Date of original publication unknown: perhaps around early 1960's when Bill worked in Hong Kong.

Preface to Ghost Register

by Zhong Sicheng

New Website, new works and progress at

Dear All

We sincerely hope that all are well during these unusual and difficult times.

As you will notice, we have a new website. The last website was getting harder to maintain (software and updated programs making navigation nearly impossible). Lockdown and enforced isolation (without such things like café’s, bars, and gyms to distract us) have allowed my wife and I to concentrate on the website and content with the following achieved:

A new website, which includes a 'Reading Room' section where we will post various works and research undertaken by my father (some unfinished, some with bits missing but valuable none-the-less)

We have worked on three volumes, namely 9. West Wing Chantefable by Tung Chieh-yuan around AD 12008. Wang Shih-fu, Author of China's most famous play and 1. Kuan Han Ching China's first Playwright. We have re-inserted the Chinese characters and will shortly go through a final edit and publish them. We will list them here when finished.

We have notice on Amazon that finding Bill’s works is a confusing process. It appears that so many old volumes, despite being out-of-print appear higher before published works. Why, we do not know. We suggest that you contact us here to see where a volume may be available and if we can assist in anyway to get that volume to you.

Ieuan Dolby and Wu, Chin Ling

10. Sir Old (Lao-tzu) the Chinese classic of Taoism

Newly Published

No.10 - Sir Old (Lao-tzu) the Chinese classic of Taoism (Published - May 2019)


Continuation of the Translation of works by William Dolby

It has been at least two years since an update was made to this site, and indeed since any meaningful edit or republication was made to Bill's works. This has been unfortunate: mostly due to my working in Hong Kong (day job) and a lack of funds to continue our mission to republish my father's entire output.

However, my wife and I are pleased to inform that we are continuing our good work, although at a slower pace. Among Bill's files I recently found a work titled "Prehistory of China" which makes for interesting reading and we are working on a couple of the Culture Series volumes to get them into print / kindle. Also, having now located the revised edition of "A History of Chinese Drama" 1997, we will look to publish as soon as possible.

All republished works are now available on Amazon - through their 'print-on-demand' service or on Kindle.

Also, please do contact us here to see if we have any remaining copies in stock of other titles.

Ieuan Dolby

Kindle and Print Publications

We are now well into the New Year of 2017 and heading directly towards another, the Year of the Rooster or often translated/known as the year of the Red Chicken or Red Fire Chicken. The 10th sign, the Rooster, is connected to metal and the shine of gold suggesting that riches may be born from patience - however, the sign also suggests predictability and a period of being constant, which, after the tumultuous year of 2016, may perhaps be welcomed by many.

Famous persona known to have been born in a past Year of the Rooster are Emperor Wu of China’s Western Han Dynasty (202 BC - 9 AD), Rudyard Kipling, Jennifer Aniston, Amelia Earhart and Groucho Marx - to name but a few but all Roosters are said to be "deep thinkers, capable, and talented. 

A decision had been made last year, due to a lack of external response/interest shown, to stop producing PDF copies of Bill's work but instead to concentrate fully on the print-on-demand publications and on a Kindle edition. This simplifies things for us at the sharp end; less website matters to occupy our time with Amazon doing all the hard work of printing, sending, costs, etc.

With that in mind: 2016 was a spectacular year for Bill's work (not sure that any Zodiac sign, Western or Asian, predicted this) and particularly during the months of November and December we achieved great output on the publication front. We now have seven publications up and running on Amazon worldwide. Check out our current publications here.

However, despite our deepest efforts and results the sales of these works do not justify the near-full time effort that has gone into the end-result. My wife and I are therefore not sure how we can continue - the work being an immense project that has not garnered any real or meaningful external interest.

Ideally we need a benefactor, an Institution, a culturally biased publisher or private literary group to take interest in my father's work but without such we do not have the funds (and therefore time) to continue at our our previous pace or indeed at all. It is therefore extremely doubtful that the Year of the Rooster will produce much. We will however continue to maintain the website and our current publications as they are: and hope that something pops our of the woodwork soon.

All the best for 2017 and for the Year of the Rooster ahead.

Ieuan Dolby and Wu Chin Ling

An article, based on an interveiw of William Dolby by a Chinese Scholar

This link was kindly provided to me; an article based on a past interview of Bill by a Chinese scholar. We will hope to have this translated into English soon.

Please view here.

An revised 1997 version of 'A History of Chinese Drama' found

Whilst trawling through what amounts to over 95,000 files (admittedly some appear to be duplicates) I came across one titled 'adapthistheatre'. Now it took me some time to realise that this was indeed an edited and refurbished edition of Bill's well known 'A History of Chinese Drama.

Upon reading this file further and looking at when it was created, and indeed Bill's own notes on the matter, it transpires that this file is an edited and invigorated version dated 1997, twenty years after the original publication.

I seriously think there would be great demand for publication of this revised edition. Any publisher out there who would like to republish it (?), noting that the original work of 1976 is still an enourmous authority on the subject.

Revised edition; A History of Chinese Drama by William Dolb

Print Publication of Lasting-life Palace-hall by Hong Sheng (1654-1704)

I am pleased to say, after burnīng the midnight oil, that we have managed to publish our first print publication. This is of course 'Lasting-life Palace-hall' by Hung Sheng (1654-1704) as translated, introduced and explained by William Dolby.

This wonderful play, also known as 'Palace of Eternal Life (Youth)' or 'Abiding-life Palace-hall' was written by Hung Sheng, commonly known as Hong Sheng. This particular translation is possibly Bill's largest work (No29 of his 'Chinese Culture Series') and so we have spilt the print version into two paperback volumes. The first volume contains Bill's original Introduction and Translation, and the second volume contains his numerous appendices and explanations.


No29: Lasting-life Palace-hall by Hung Sheng (1654-1704)

At last, a mountain has been climbed. Perhaps it was only a hill but never-the-less we have finally finished editing a further volume. A translation of an immense play:

No29: Lasting-life Palace-hall by Hung Sheng (1654-1704)

The edit of this amazing work has taken some time to complete but despite our limited resources, kids screaming and spare time only, my wife and I have managed to create a single PDF file that contains Bill's full translation, his original introduction and copious footnotes and some further mini-translations and poems that tie into the play's intro.

We note the various English titles used for other trasnslations of this particular play: Bill initially titled his translation "Abiding-life .." rather then "Lasting-life .." . However, we feel that his translation will only add to the choice and scope available and thus we leave the title as he saw fit to work.

Next up? Christmas I say! So we will see in January what volume will be next for us to work. Also, I'm not sure about everyone else but I am still a fan of paper books - contrary to popular belief 'real' books are not about to dissapear from the planet. Therefore, I also intend to turn this latest work in to a Print-on-Demand edition (perhaps two volumes due to it's size) and I will provide an update again when it becomes available (and where).

Have a lovely Christmas.

Ieuan and Chin Ling

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