The first session of the Bentobox Lecture Series for the 2020-2021 academic year was held last Wednesday, the 28th of October. The session was able to attract highly engaged participants who took part in a dynamic Q&A session, following the presentations by Prof. Katrine Wong and Prof. Damian Shaw, both from Department of English.

Prof. Katrine Wong

Prof. Wong’s presentation entitled “Musical Response to Shakespeare in Greater China: Mandopop and Cantopop of Recent Decades” began with a discussion of how Shakespeare and his works historically made their way to China. Thanks to translations and adaptations, Chinese artists and patrons began to learn more about the Bard and his works. Using interesting examples from a sampling of Mandopop and Cantopop songs, Prof. Katrine showed how Shakespearean narratives continue to inspire and influence contemporary, popular discourse in China.

Prof. Damian Shaw

In the second presentation provocatively entitled “Unstable Identities in Bed: A Literary Motif in Longus, Shakespeare, Richardson, and Harriet Jacobs,” Prof. Damian Shaw shared his interesting discovery: a literary motif that he traces from Longus’s “Dapnis and Chloe” and iterated in the works of Shakespeare (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice), Richardson (Pamela; Or, Virtue Rewarded), and Jacobs (Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl). The motif involves a case of mistaken identity where a character makes sexual advances to another character of the same sex, (questionably) mistaking them to be of the opposite sex. In Prof. Shaw’s intriguing reading of select scenes, he questions the supposed innocence of the characters involved. Prior to his presentation, Prof. Shaw shared that his discovery has already found print in an academic journal, which he hopes would encourage other scholars to find iterations of this motif in other literary works.

The second Bentobox event for this academic year will be held on the 25th of November and will feature talks from Prof. Catherine S. Chan (Department of History) and Mr. José Lino Pascoal  (Department of Portuguese).

We are looking forward to seeing you there!