The Exhibition of Shakespeare to Sherlock: Treasures of the British Library and the Exhibition of The Book of Songs to A Dream of Red Mansions: The classics we have read in those years are open

On 21 April, the Exhibition of Shakespeare to Sherlock: Treasures of the British Library, co-sponsored by the National Library of China (NLC) and the British Library (BL), and the Exhibition of The Book of Songs to A Dream of Red Mansions: The classics we have read in those years, sponsored by the NLC, were open in the National Museum of Classic Books (NMCB) officially. Valuable ancient books of Chinese classic literature, manuscripts of British classic literature, Chinese translations, manuscripts, book reviews, and so on, were displayed, which presented the peak level of Sino-British classic literature, brought a literature feast for Chinese audience, and played important roles for promoting Sino-British culture exchanges and enhancing mutual understanding and friendship of people in the two countries.

Luo Shugang, minister of the Ministry of Culture, Blackstone, chairman of the BL, Han Yongjin, director of the NLC, and Martyn Roper, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Beijing, addressed a speech respectively in the opening ceremony. Caroline Brazier, director of the BL, Xie Jinying, director of Bureau of External Cultural Relations, the Ministry of Culture, Guan Qiang, deputy director of State Administration of Cultural Heritage, and related leaders and experts from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, and Beijing People's Art Theatre, attended this activity.

Luo Shugang said, as the excellent representatives of eastern and western civilization, both China and Britain had a long history and splendid culture. During the long historical process, Sino-British culture exchanges played important roles for mutual understanding of people in the two countries. The BL brought 10 British writers' manuscripts and early printed editions to China, including William Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, and so on, which presented the immortal glamour of British literature. The NLC selected domestic translators' manuscripts and modern and contemporary publications for display, which presented the important achievements of Sino-British culture exchanges.

Blackstone said that this exhibition, co-sponsored by the BL and the NLC, was one of the biggest and the most exciting international projects of the BL, which would caught the eyes of literature, music and theatre fans, and made Chinese audience appreciate valuable manuscripts of British literature and world literature.

The Exhibition of Shakespeare to Sherlock: Treasures of the British Library displayed 9 manuscripts and 2 early printed books of British writers, covering poetry, theatre and novel, which were displayed in China for the first time. The exhibits included revised manuscripts of Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre, manuscripts of Lord Byron's Don Juan, manuscripts of William Wordsworth's poem I wandered lonely as a cloud, the second quarto of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, short score manuscripts of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream (opera), manuscripts of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Charles Dickens' manuscripts of Nicholas Nickleby and the original serialized version of David Copperfield, manuscripts of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Missing Three Quarter, hand-written and type-written manuscripts of Ian Fleming's The Living Daylights about James Bond series and The Fabulous Pay-Off, and so on. The NLC's collections were displayed at the same time, including famous Chinese translations, adaptations, book reviews, manuscripts, and so on. Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare were famous masters in eastern and western theatre history, whose works were displayed in this exhibition together, i.e. The Peony Pavilion, chromatograph edition engraved by Mao Ying in Ming Dynasty, and Romeo and Juliet, published in 1599 and collected by King George III. Meanwhile, Chinese translator Zhu Shenghao's translation manuscripts collected by Jiaxing Library and opera costumes of Hamlet provided by Beijing People's Art Theatre were also displayed in the exhibition.

The Exhibition of The Book of Songs to A Dream of Red Mansions: The classics we have read in those years, sponsored by the NLC, were open on the same day. It displayed more than 70 ancient books in historical order, and consisted of 8 parts, i.e. Pre-Qin Period, Qin and Han Dynasties, Wei-Jin and the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Sui, Tang and Five Dynasties, Song Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, presenting Chinese glorious classical literature through celebrities and works in different periods. It exhibited the Book of Songs, the Songs of Chu, Han Fu, Tang Poetry, Song Ci Poetry, Yuan Drama, novels of Ming and Qing Dynasties. Besides, there was a section of "Shi, Shu, Li, Yue" in the exhibition hall, which displayed chime, costumes, typecase, Guqin and other exhibits. From 21 April to 23 April, ancient chime and dance performances were regularly held in the exhibition hall. Chinese classical literature is the valuable culture heritage of Chinese nation. The audience can appreciate British classic literature as well as enjoy the glamour of Chinese classic literature, and further enhance cultural confidence and pride.

After the opening ceremony, the leaders and operation experts of both libraries held operation exchange activity of the NLC and the BL. In the afternoon of 21 April, a salon with "British Literature in China" as the theme was held, which invited Chinese and British literature experts and readers to attend, and enriched the experiences of visiting exhibition. In the afternoon of 20 April, National Library Course held a special activity named "Sino-British Literature Dialogue of Surpassing Time and Space", which presented Sino-British culture exchanges in manner of dialogue between directors of the NLC and the BL, Chinese and English poetry reading, drama excerpts performance, keynote speech on the relations between Chinese and British literature, and so on. Attractive exchange contents and abundant representation manners made it popular with readers. Many media broadcast this activity on live, amounting to 620,000 hits in total.

The exhibition is free of charge and will be ended on 21 June.

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