Franz Kuhn

For the American judge, see Franz C. Kuhn.

Franz Walther Kuhn (10 March 1884 – 22 January 1961) was a lawyer and a translator chiefly remembered for translating many Chinese novels into German, most famously the Dream of the Red Chamber.


Kuhn studied law at the University of Leipzig and the University of Berlin, passing his state examination in 1908 and obtaining his doctorate in 1909. He began to practice law in Dresden in 1909. He was soon assigned to the German delegation to Peking as an interpreter, having completed a course of Chinese during his study at Berlin. He stayed in China until 1912.

After the First World War, Kuhn began to translate classic Chinese literature into German. Eventually he ran into conflict with the Nazi authorities, who considered his works to be harmful. After the end of World War II, Kuhn's work began to be more widely known and appreciated. He received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1952.

Jorge Luis Borges attributes the discovery of a "paradoxical list of animals" to Kuhn. The list has become the subject of much modern commentary after it was cited by Foucault. However, Borges's attribution is the only known evidence that either such a work existed or that Kuhn discussed it [1] (it is, actually, a fictional attribution; see Otras Inquisiciones).

Franz Kuhn is not to be confused with Franz Felix Adalbert Kuhn.


See also



  1. Linguist list.

External links

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