City University of Hong Kong Dep
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
An Arctic Passage to the Far East:
The Visit of the Swedish Vega Expedition to Meiji Japan in 1879
Prof. Gunilla Lindberg-Wada
Chair Professor, Department of Japanese Studies, Stockholm University
Visiting Research Scholar at International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto
Date: 22 July 2008, Tuesday
Time: 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Venue: B7516 (Lift 3, 7/F, Blue Zone), Academic Building, CityU
In the evening of September 2, 1879, the steamship Vega entered Yokohama Harbour. The Swedish Vega Expedition, lead by the world famous polar explorer and scientist Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, had accomplished the first crossing ever of the Northeast Passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific. They were to stay in Japan for about eight weeks, before leaving Nagasaki on October 27 for their journey back to Sweden.
In addition to the scientific results of the expedition, Nordenskiöld also brought home a substantial book collection from Japan. Within a couple of years his account of the voyage of the Vega round Asia and Europe for the general public was published in about ten languages and spread around Europe.
How was the expedition carried out, what was Nordenskiöld’s impression of Japan like, and what happened to the book collection he brought home to Stockholm? Those are the focal questions of the seminar.
Gunilla Lindberg-Wada, is Chair Professor of Japanese Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden, from October 2007 through August 2008 in Kyoto as Visiting Research Scholar at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. She is the author of Poetic Allusion: Some Aspects of the Role Played by Kokin Wakashuu as a Source of Poetic Allusion in Genji Monogatari (1983) and co-editor of An Arctic Passage to the Far East: The Visit of the Swedish Vega Expedition to Meiji Japan in 1879 (with Urban Wrakberg, 2002). She has also translated classic and modern Japanese poetry into Swedish, as well as novels and drama by Endô Shûsaku and Mishima Yukio. She received the Noma Award for the Translation of Japanese Literature in 1997.
During the years 1996–2006 Lindberg-Wada was the project leader of “Literature and Literary History in Global Contexts: A Comparative Project,” a multidisciplinary research project funded by the Swedish Research Council. As a result of the project five volumes of articles in English, each focusing on a special complex of questions in connection with the global history of literature, were published in 2006 (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin & New York): the four volume series Literary History: Towards a Global Perspective, of which Lindberg-Wada edited volume two, Literary Genres: An Intercultural Approach, and Studying Transcultural Literary History (ed. G. Lindberg-Wada).
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