Shakespeare partnership brings fresh insight to Chinese audiences

The University of Birmingham joined its partners Phoenix Publishing & Media Group and Nanjing University to launch new Chinese translations of Hamlet and Henry V.

Working in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the partners’ Shakespeare Centre China launched the first translations of 24 major Shakespeare plays.

They also announced the official start of editing and publishing work for ‘Modern Critics of Shakespeare’ - a collection of research into the Bard - as well as preparation and organisation work for YLYK Cup Students’ Shakespeare (China) Festival.

At a special ceremony in Nanjing, Liang Yong, chairman of Phoenix Publishing & Media Group, and Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, jointly unveiled the preview editions for Hamlet and Henry V.

The event also marked the launch of a joint research centre in the Social History of Medicine - part of a renewed Memorandum of understanding between the three partners.

“This collection of research represents a landmark for the millions of Shakespeare aficionados in China and I am delighted that such a milestone Chinese-language publication is the product of our partnership in Nanjing,” said Professor Sir David Eastwood.

"The University of Birmingham is renowned for its expertise in English literature, particularly around the life and works of William Shakespeare, and globally acclaimed for its Shakespeare Institute, in Stratford-upon-Avon.

"As a global civic university, it is tremendously exciting to work with Phoenix Publishing & Media Group and Nanjing University to give Chinese people greater access to Shakespeare, whilst developing new publishing opportunities that will benefit students across China."

Speaking at the event, Mr. LIANG Yong, Chairman of Phoenix Publishing and Media Group, said: “The first edition of Chinese version of RSC Shakespeare plays are to present Chinese readers with a vivid and modern Shakespeare.

“Yilin Press is known for its reputations in international vision in the publishing of literature and social sciences. Phoenix Group is proud to forge partnerships with two global leading universities, take advantage of each party’s competitive edges, and serve Chinese readers with better publications.”

The University of Birmingham entered the three-way partnership with Phoenix Publishing & Media Group and Nanjing University and created Shakespeare Centre, China in November 2016. Envisioned to be China’s most influential publishing platform for Shakespeare, it is also the first comprehensive publishing and research centre for Shakespeare in China.

Shakespeare’s plays have been loved by generations of Chinese readers and to make the plays easier for general readers to appreciate, the Shakespeare Centre, China introduced a new translation plan for Shakespeare’s works.

Through performance-guided discussion among translators, directors and actors, Shakespeare’s classics are translated in a vivid Chinese context, conveying the original style of Shakespeare’s language while bringing a modern and lively Shakespeare to the readers.

The Centre also launched Modern Critics of Shakespeare - a book collection intended to translate and introduce leading international research results on Shakespeare into China, and major works of domestic scholars on Shakespeare abroad.

he featured book collection will gather, translate and publish leading international and domestic research results on Shakespeare.

Nanjing University alumnus Xia Peng also presented a ¥5 million gift to the Centre to sponsor an annual YLYK Cup Students’ Shakespeare (China) Festival.

Professor Michael Dobson, director of the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon said: "A huge expansion of interest in the study and performance of the plays in China has been one of the most positive developments in Shakespeare’s world-wide reception in the twenty-first century.

“The team in Stratford is very excited about working with Phoenix Publishing & Media Group and Nanjing University to publish this landmark collection of research - helping us to bring the delights of Shakespeare to an even wider audience."

  • For more information or interviews, please contact Tony Moran , International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The history of collaboration between China and the University of Birmingham dates back almost to the foundation of the University in 1901.
  • Phoenix Publishing & Media Group was established in September 2001. It publishes, prints and distributes books, periodicals, newspapers, electronic and audio-visual products. Phoenix is now one of the most influential large-scale Chinese publishing and media groups.

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