Lao She: A Chinese Writer in Modernist London
Monday • 4 March 2013
Sent by missionaries to teach Chinese at the School of Oriental Studies, Lao She arrived in London in 1924, a city brimming with prejudice, where tourists visited the East End’s infamous Chinatown to search for opium dens and experience the Yellow Peril at first hand. The fiction and essays Lao She wrote during these years reflect his experience of missionary condescension and popular panic, while his engagement with literary high modernism shaped his emergence as one of twentieth-century China’s most eminent writers. Anne Witchard will examine the encounter between Chinese and British intellectual lives in the modernist milieu of 1920s London and discuss Lao She’s great novel Er Ma (Mr Ma and Son) with its panorama of London life from Limehouse cafes to Bloomsbury boarding houses, a city where the shadow of Dr Fu Manchu permeated popular culture and had an all too real effect of the lives of the Chinese people who lived there.
Anne Witchard is a lecturer in English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster, London. She is the author of Thomas Burke’s Dark Chinoiserie: Limehouse Nights and the Queer Spell of Chinatown (Ashgate 2009), co-editor of London Gothic: Place, Space and the Gothic Imagination (Continuum 2010), author of Lao She in London (HKUP 2012) and editor of Modernism and Chinoiserie (forthcoming EUP (2014)
Speaker: Dr Anne Witchard
Date/Time: Monday 4th March 2013 / 6.30pm
Venue: Extension Services Room. 8/F, City Hall High Block, Central
Admission: Free Admission – No reserved seats.