GREAT British icons bound for Tokyo
- Shakespeare’s First Folio and Conan Doyle manuscript to visit Japan
- 3-day event to be based around UK literary treasures
Two great literary icons – Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes – will come together in Tokyo this St George’s Day, as part of a major showcase of British culture and education.
Organised by the British Library, De Montfort University and the British Council, the three-day event (23-25 April 2012) will feature two major treasures from the British Library’s collections – Shakespeare’s First Folio and the original manuscript of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mystery ‘The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter’.
These iconic treasures will travel to Japan and form the centrepiece of a programme that will include activities with local schoolchildren, lectures with international scholars and a special higher education symposium. The event supports the aims of the Government’s GREAT campaign to promote British culture internationally during 2012.
The First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623, just seven years after the playwright’s death and featuring one of only four known versions of the famous Droeshout portrait of Shakespeare in its first state (printing). ‘The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter’ is the manuscript of a 1904 story in which Sherlock Holmes investigates the disappearance of a star rugby player.
The event coincides with Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23 and will capitalise on growing Japanese enthusiasm for Conan Doyle. It will include talks on Shakespeare and Conan Doyle, and also previews of the British Library’s major forthcoming exhibition Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands, which opens on May 11 and will explore the relationship between literature and the British landscape.
Activities will be based around the British Embassy, and will conclude with a higher education symposium hosted by the University of Tokyo and featuring the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Martin Donnelly.
Jamie Andrews, Head of English and Drama at the British Library, said: “We are delighted to be sharing the excitement of our greatest literary treasures with scholars and schoolchildren in Japan in support of the GREAT campaign. Our partnership with De Montfort University, the British Council and the British Embassy means we can reach more people around the world through this important cultural and educational exchange.”
De Montfort University Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard has previously authored a book on Shakespeare for the British Library ‘Writer’s Lives’ series – detailing the main events in the playwright's life and insights into the circumstances and influences that shaped his major works.
Professor Shellard commented: “De Montfort University is proud to play an important part in the GREAT initiative, and to showcase the works of two of the UK’s literary giants to the people of Japan. In addition to unique opportunities for cultural exchange, this event will also provide a tremendous opportunity to discuss the delivery of first-class higher education in both countries.”
Jeff Streeter, Director of the British Council in Japan, said: “We are delighted to be inviting a large number of local and international school students to see these iconic treasures and to give Shakespeare a memorable birthday party in Tokyo. There is a lot of tradition as well as innovation around Shakespeare in Japan, and interpretations and performances of his work remain a key part of the cultural relationship between our two countries.”
For more information and images, please contact:
Ben Sanderson, British Library Press Office
+44 (0)1937 546126
Owen Morris, De Montfort University External Relations Department
+44 (0) 116 257 7674
Notes to Editors:
De Montfort University is a public research and teaching university situated in the city of Leicester, England. 40% of the university's research was deemed 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' in the United Kingdom Research Assessment Exercise, highlighting particular strength in English literature, where it equaled the University of Cambridge. The university has the second highest number of National Teaching Fellows of all UK universities. www.dmu.ac.uk or follow @dmuleicester.
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