Written by:
Introduction by:
Translated by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140449716
  • 304 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Mencius was one of the great philosophers of ancient China, second only in influence to Confucius, whose teachings he defended and expanded. The Mencius, in which he recounts his dialogues with kings, dukes and military men, as well as other philosophers, is one of the Four Books that make up the essential Confucian corpus. It takes up Confucius’s theories of jen, or goodness and yi, righteousness, explaining that the individual can achieve harmony with mankind and the universe by perfecting his innate moral nature and acting with benevolence and justice. Mencius’ strikingly modern views on the duties of subjects and their rulers or the evils of war, created a Confucian orthodoxy that has remained intact since the third century BCE. 

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Further Reading


Book I·Part A
Book I·Part B
Book II·Part A
Book II·Part B
Book III·Part A
Book III·Part B
Book IV·Part A
Book IV·Part B
Book V·Part A
Book V·Part B
Book VI·Part A
Book VI·Part B
Book VII·Part A
Book VII·Part B

Aooendix 1: The Dating of Events in the Life of Mencius
Appendix 2: Early Traditions about Mencius
Appendix 3: The Text of the Mencius
Appendix 4: Ancient History as Understood by Mencius
Appendix 5: On Mencius’ Use of the Method of Analogy in Argument
Textual Notes
Glossary of Personal and Place Names