Public Lecture on Poetry and Culture of the Tang Dynasty by Dr. Stephen Owen

On Oct. 21st, 2015, Dr. Stephen Owen from Harvard University gave a lecture on poetry and culture of the Tang Dynasty in Room 111 of College of Business, UCA. This lecture was sponsored by UCA Confucius Institute and the English Department. Dr. Stephen Owen, devoting himself to Tang poetry study, was a famous sinologist and he called himself “the alien in the world of Tang poetry”. This lecture attracted about a hundred students. Most of them were from College of Liberal Arts and some were from College of Business. Some faculty came all the way from Little Rock to attend the lecture.

The lecture began with a question “Tang poetry—Why is it interesting?” Dr. Owen elaborated this question by quoting Wang Wei’s “Mount Pei Di’s Terrace”, “Stopping by the Temple of Incense Massed”, Liu Zongyuan’s “Snow on the River” and Du Mu’s “The Late Autumn in Qian County”. Through these poems and his translation, he showed his understanding of these representative master pieces of different periods of Tang Dynasty. After the lecture, students and faculty asked questions, such as the relationship between Tang poetry and other forms of literature and the influence that Tang poetry exerted on American modern poems.

Dr. Stephen Owen is one of the most respected experts in early Chinese Literature in America. He devotes his life to studying Chinese classic literature. In 1972, he received his doctor degree from the East Asia Department of Yale University. The dissertation was entitled “Poems of Han Yu and Meng Jiao”. After graduation, he gained a teaching position at Yale University. In 1982, he began to teach in the East Asia Department and Comparative Literature Department at Harvard University. Now he is James Bryant Conant University professor.  His master works are “The Poetry of the Early Tang”, “The Great Age of Chinese Poetry: The High Tang”, “The End of the Chinese ‘Middle Ages: Essays in Mid-Tang Literary Culture’”, “An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beings to 1911”, “The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature”and etc.

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