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    Xueqin and Xakespeare: Reading The Story of the Stone through Hamlet

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    Event description

    This event celebrates the publication of a new book, Xueqin and Xakespeare: Reading The Story of the Stone through Hamlet. The book is an extraordinary (and rare these days) example of seeking to generate new pathways to dialogue across cultures, in this case drawing on two of the giants in Chinese and English literature respectively. The book particularly focuses on the ways that both pieces of literature engage with the themes of patriarchy, romantic love, and the narrative of woman as “the shrew,” and how reading one through the other generates deeper insights. The event will involve reflections on the book by an interdisciplinary panel comprised of Dr Esther Klein, Dr Annie Ren and Associate Professor Shengyu Fan, as well as some remarks by the author, Dr Judith Forsyth.

    About the Author

    Judith Forsyth obtained an MA on stage adaptations of Shakespeare 1600-1800 in 1972. Prior to further research on Shakespeare, she enrolled in Chinese 1A at the university of Melbourne where she delivered six lectures on the just-published first volume of David Hawkes’ translation of Cao Xueqin’s The Story of the Stone. After completing a PhD on Shakespeare in 1986 at the University of Melbourne, she returned to her interest in Cao Xueqin, and this present book brings together the two great writers in a dialogue on universal themes in imaginative literature. She is in the process of a further study of The Story of the Stone as a ‘double tale’.

    About the Speakers

    Dr Esther Sunkyung Klein researches pre-modern Chinese historiography, philosophy, and literature. Her monograph Reading Sima Qian from Han to Song: the Father of History in Pre-modern China was published in 2019. She has also published on the authorship of the Zhuangzi, Wang Chong’s epistemology, and other issues relating to the history and transmission of ideas. Her current project focuses on approaches to truth and evidence in premodern China, including both the philosophical and historiographical traditions.

    Dr Annie Luman Ren is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World and a co-editor of The China Story. Having previously written her PhD thesis on the poetics of China’s most celebrated novel Hongloumeng 紅樓夢 (The Story of the Stone), Annie’s latest research project is on the life and writings of the Manchu poet Nalan Xingde. Annie is also a literary translator and she is currently working on a translation of Nalan Xingde’s ci poetry.

    Fan Shengyu is Associate Professor/Reader in Chinese Studies at the School of Culture, History and Language in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. He is currently working on a monograph tentatively entitled "The Story of the Stone's Journey to the West: A History of the English Translations of Hongloumeng". By putting Hongloumeng’s English translation history into a broader context, he aims to explore the history and variants of this canon’s translation for insights into the nature of translation, the rise of vernacular literature in China, and the changing character of Chinese-European relations.

    If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation plan please contact ciw@anu.edu.au.


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