Wednesday 29 March 2017
12 noon – 1 pm
NLA Conference Room, 4th floor
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.