Sir Edmund Backhouse and How His Scandalous Chinese Memoirs Came to Canberra

Asia-Pacific Special Interest Group Lunchtime Talk – National Library of Australia
Andrew Gosling

12pm Wednesday 29 March 2017
Conference Room, Level 4, National Library of Australia, Canberra

The National Library houses a rare typed autobiography, completed shortly before his death in Japanese-controlled China, by the eccentric British Sinologist, Sir Edmund Backhouse (1873-1944). Backhouse claimed to have been intimate with leading cultural figures in late Victorian England and to have been the lover of the  Empress  Dowager Cixi (Tz’u Hsi) in China.

Andrew Gosling, former Chief Librarian, Asian Collections, will explore Backhouse’s extraordinary life and memoirs, and how the Library succeeded in obtaining his real or imagined adventures in late Manchu China. Backhouse worked closely in China with the renowned Australian journalist and, political adviser, Dr G.E.Morrison (Morrison of Peking). Canberra residents, Alastair Morrison (son of G.E. Morrison) and the Australian National University scholar Dr Lo Hui-min played a major role in helping the Library acquire the memoirs.

Free. All welcome. No booking required.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Recording and transcript available here.