Whilst the works of Shakespeare, Dickens, Conan Doyle and more recent titles like Harry Potter are well-known in China, Chinese literature is largely unknown in the West. I wanted to introduce some 60 great Chinese books to a western audience. The choice was limited to books that have been translated, and I obviously have my own likes and dislikes, but I have tried to be fair! Will the audience agree with my selection?
Dr Frances Wood (吴芳思博士) followed a pre-diploma course at Liverpool College of Art 1966-7 and studied Chinese at Newnham College, Cambridge, 1967-1971. She spent 1975-6 at Peking University and wrote her PhD on traditional domestic architecture in Peking 1860-1930 (London University, 1984). She worked in the Chinese Section of the British Library from 1977 to 2013. Much of this time was devoted to the conservation of the manuscripts brought back from Dunhuang by Stein and their publication in various formats, as well as supporting visiting Chinese scholars. She has written a number of books on Chinese history and culture, including Stones of the Wall 1986 (a translation of a novel by Dai Houying), Chinese Illustration (1986), A Companion to China (1989), The Blue Guide to China (1990, 2002), Did Marco Polo Go To China? (1995), No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port life in China 1843-1943, (1998), Hand Grenade Practice in China: my part in the Cultural Revolution (2000), The Silk Road (2002), The Forbidden City (2005), The Lure of China: writers on China from Marco polo to J.G.Ballard (2009), The Diamond Sutra: the story of the world’s earliest dated printed book (2010), Betrayed Ally: China in the Great War (2016), Great Books of China (2017) and contributed to other works including (with Andrew Lo, Wang Tz’u-cheng and Song Jiayu) Export Paintings in the British Library (2011).
Note: If you have any questions to ask regarding Dr Frances Wood’s presentation, please feel free to leave your questions in the comment box below. We will hope to invite Frances to answer your questions after her talk.