On the afternoon of March 29, Professor Richard Evans, Director of the Lifelong Education Center at Britain’s Cardiff University and Academic Director of the university’s Confucius Institute, presented a lecture on European culture and its heritage from ancient Greece and Rome at CFLC. Professor Evans, who graduated from the University of London and spent 10 years as a senior administrator at the University of Cambridge, has in recent years worked with Professor Fu Siyi, former associate dean of CFLC, on the preparation of a handbook for directors of Confucius Institutes. The lecture was moderated by Professor Yang Shizhuo, chair of CLFC’s English Department and joined by Professor Fu Siyi.
Professor Evans began his lecture with a brief introduction of the Confucius Institute at Cardiff University, highlighting the institute’s major cultural activities with Chinese characteristics, and expressing hopes for further exchanges and cooperation with CFLC in the years ahead.
He then went on to illustrate the importance of literary classics to the contemporary era of rapid development of science and technology, citing the quote of Edward Fitzgerald that “No discovery can give us a Homer, or an Aeschylus” (1845).
Professor Richard Evans then cited three poems by three European scholars to illustrate what the “torch race”. He revealed the commonality of the thought of cultural luminaries from different eras: Titus Lucretius, a poet and philosopher of the Roman Republic, regarded the ever-changing phenomena in life as a torch relay; Plato, the great philosopher of ancient Greece, referred to “transmission” as “handing on life like a torch,” and British poet Henry Newbolt, also described “honor” as a “torch” in his poem “Vitaï Lampada."
Starting with the illustration of the link between torches and life, Professor Evans elaborated on the influence of ancient Greek and Roman culture on Western literary thought.
In the Q&A session at the end of the lecture, Professor Evans answered a number of questions from the audience. These questions included what cultural differences existed between ancient Greece and Rome, whether it is necessary to revive this classic culture, and how Professor Evans fell in love with this once-thriving but declining culture and how he conduct academic research.