This article takes the inauguration of the Hsu-Tang Library of Classical Chinese Literature as an opportunity to reflect on today's role of classical literatures and their importance to the transformation of the humanities. Edited by Wiebke Denecke and Lucas Klein and published by Oxford University Press, the library was established by a gift from Oscar L. Tang and Hsin-Mei Agnes Hsu-Tang—a descendant of Ji Yun, chief compiler of the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries (Siku quanshu), and of Xu Guangqi, China's “first convert.” After detailing how the Library carries on the legacies of both the Complete Library and the Jesuit project of cross-cultural dialogue and translation, the essay showcases how the Loeb Classical Library of Greek and Roman literatures, established a century ago, is both a model and radically different enterprise from recently endowed bilingual classical libraries, including the Murty Classical Library of India. The article then outlines the vision and hopes for the Hsu-Tang Library, namely, to publish translations of Chinese literature that are both intelligently scholarly and eminently readable and thus deepen and broaden the possibilities of what Chinese literature can mean—also in and for the English language. Responses to the essay will be considered for publication in a future forum.

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