Neil Thomas reviews John Minford’s recorded seminars on Chinese literature
The translator John Minford personifies the quality by which he judges prose – its “generous spirit.” For two marvelous hours on Thursday mornings in late 2015, Professor Minford taught a class on Chinese literature at The Australian National University in Canberra, where he introduced his students (myself among them) to the characters and the worlds of China’s cultural tradition.
Hidden on an obscure university website, three of Minford’s six seminars survive. (A lecture series on similar themes that Minford gave at the Hang Seng Management College in Hong Kong is also available on YouTube.) Recorded at the Australian Center on China in the World, these sessions transport listeners from the present into a past that brims with vaster life, illuminating the tribulations and the revelations of ancient writers and their modern translators.