One of the foremost experts on the Chinese language, culture and history, a highly respected and renowned lecturer in Mandarin and father of five, William (Bill) Dolby spent his life surpassing academic excellence. Bill sadly passed away in 2015, but right to the last he freely shared his deep love of a subject and in so doing created a truly inspirational and sound foundation in those who took the time to listen. As a true master the respect that he gained from his peers and from 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 Honors Degree and PHD at Christs College in Cambridge, well past his retirement as a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, Department of Oriental Studies, he enthusiastically devoted himself to his translations, projects and writings. He amazingly produced over forty publications (his Chinese Culture Series, mainstream published and individual works), many of which were under his own publishing company of Carreg Publishers and with various other works picked-up by the mainstream publishing houses. His last translation, as late as 2013, was "Lao She's, Mr Ma and Son" published by Penguin - a translation that Bill quietly informed was in fact a story that he originally translated back in the 1960’s.
But Bill had one fault. He never pushed his work. He passed on his knowledge and insight with passion, enjoyed expanding on various topics with unrivaled insight and he translated and produced output that surpassed belief but marketing was not one of his skills. However, for the first time, his numerous works are now available here, initially in hard copy and soon as e-books.
Bill's enormous intellect was once described as deeper than that of the Chinese masters themselves. Some past students recall fondly how he 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 others recall the humorous anecdotes and historical stories that brightened-up the lectures and that set the solid foundations of their own interest and future.
For those who are now stepping out in Bills wake his mainstream published works and his Chinese Culture Series are the backbone to a future, his written words now replacing the vivid hand-waving and verbal exchanges that he was so remembered for. And for his peers, past students and colleagues these works are an opportunity to share his passion through written words that have now found the light of day.