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​Chinese | Guided reading session of new book on Chinese literary figure Su Dongpo by Assoc Prof I Lo-fen

Published on: 30-Apr-2019


The book launch of The Art of Su Dongpo's Calligraphy by Associate Professor I, Lo-fen attracted over a hundred audiences to The National Library of Singapore on the 20th April 2019. Together with the audiences, she kicked off the event innovatively by presenting a song adapted from a renowned piece of literary work by Su Dongpo(1037-1101). The familiar lyrics and enthralling melody instantaneously enliven the atmosphere before the book launch of the long-awaited publication by her officially begins.

This publication is Associate Professor I, Lo-fen's ninth single author academic books, the third academic monograph on Su Dongpo, following Su Shi's Literary Works on Paintings (1999) and Wandering under the Red Cliffs and Elegant Gathering in the Western Garden: Studies on Su Shi(2001). This publication aims at introducing the less commonly discussed calligraphy works of Su Dongpo from a Text and Image Studies approach. Text is employed for expression and communication purposes; image is a form of text. The visual representation of the Chinese characters through calligraphy is an example of an integration of text and image. From a Text and Image Studies approach, the external form and the underlying meaning of the Chinese characters in calligraphy can be and should be deciphered in different ways, bringing upon the possibility of a multiple interpretations outlook that differs from that of the study of the history of calligraphy.

As the Chinese proverb says, 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him a lifetime', Associate Professor I, Lo-fen expressed that the rationale of this book launch was to introduce a method to reading, so that readers are not only able to understand the content of this publication, but also able to comprehend any publication that they come across. Hence, apart from the academic content of this publication, she also shared her perspective on 'how to read a book'. From the cover, to the book plate, to the catalogue and the content, the method to reading a book from the Text and Image Studies approach was offered, much to the delight of the enthusiastic readers.

France's second largest national daily newspaper Le Monde had a special production theme for the millennium in 2000. Reporter Jean-Pierre Langellier selected 12 figures in the world who lived across 1000 AD and named them 'The heroes of the year', and Su Dongpo was the only Chinese selected. With The Art of Su Dongpo's Calligraphy, the general public will get to appreciate the calligraphy and literature of 'the hero' from the stories of the future generation commemorating his birthday.

Rich in historical materials and illuminating perspectives, a book that none of the audiences wanted to miss. Due to the overwhelming response, the books were sold out even before the book launch officially commenced. Fortunately, the book is also available on various online bookstores for interested readers.

"The Art of Su Dongpo's Calligraphy" (書藝東坡). Published by Shanghai Chinese Classics Publishing House, March 2019. (ISBN: 9787532590780), Top ten best seller book of (

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