In an effort to promote appreciation for classic works of literature, the National Science Council (NSC) is planning to hold a series of free lectures on various subjects starting next week.
In 1999, the council initiated a project for the translation and annotation of a series of classic books. So far, the project has published 52 works in the arts and humanities.
The director of the NSC’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Norman Teng (鄧育仁), said the series of lectures on 10 selected classics — covering culture, history, literature, arts, religion, society and the environment — offer comprehensive introductions to members of the public interested in the subjects.
The lectures are to be held at Taipei’s National Taiwan Normal University, Greater Taichung’s National Chung Hsing University and Greater Tainan’s National Cheng Kung University, starting from Wednesday and continuing until March 29 next year.
According to Tseng, the idea for the project was conceived in 1997 when a number of academics noted that the translations of foreign-language classics into Chinese were in dire need of improvement. Since 1999, the council has funded the translation and annotation of 125 classic books.
Citing a Mark Twain quote: “a classic — something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read,” Tseng said the 10 carefully selected books were chosen because they covered either a breakthrough in a field’s theories, laid the foundations of academic fields or were recognized as important by interdisciplinary academics.
The selected works include additional content such as historical references and timelines, and have been stringently reviewed and revised before being published, Tseng said.