``Chuang Tzu'' means ``Master Chuang''; his personal name was Chou, and he was a Taoist philosopher of the fourth century BC, contemporary with Plato and Aristotle. He was, according to the Records of the Historian, from a place called Meng, where he was ``an official in the lacquer garden.'' (No one is very sure what that means.) China at the time was fragmented into a number of incessantly-fighting kingdoms --- the era is known as the ``Warring States Period'' --- and it is thought that Meng was in the state of Sung. Chuang Chou is also recorded as being a member of the Chi-Hsia academy maintained by the larger and more advanced state of Ch'i, along with many of his most famous philosophical contemporaries, like Mencius and Hui Shih. Beyond this, we know exactly nothing about the life of Chuang Chou.
We don't even know that he composed the book that bears his name. Some of the book is brilliant; some is dreadfully dreary; the last chapter describes Chuang Tzu as one among many other philosophers. The book Chuang Tzu may be the work of several hands, or one person with off days, and a fondness for speaking about himself in the third person. The first seven, or ``inner'' chapters, are traditionally regarded as genuine, and certainly are extremely good.
I'm putting bits and pieces of the book on-line in English translation, as I find the time, and adding such notes as I think necessary. I'm not a sinologist, but even I could load down the text with at least its own weight in notes; which is the common justification for putting books on-line, and an absolutely horrible idea. Read for enjoyment or edification or mental gymnastics, and if you absolutely must find out the gory details, go to the library.