Bangor Pier (Nick Macneill)

Accidental Sinology

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I’m down in Bangor for a brief spell, where I’ve been talking to creative writing and translation students about how a few years back I found myself stumbling into matters Sinological, and the general mayhem that has ensued since then. I wasn’t sure that I was going to get here at all this morning, as there was train chaos across …

The Dark Arts

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This morning I have been preoccupied with two things: firstly, baking bread (having made myself a frisky little sourdough starter); and secondly working on the final edits of my Yijing (易經) book. This has involved shuttling between the kitchen and my desk, as I attend to the both creations. Anyway, as I was looking after the loaf in the kitchen, …

Understanding, misunderstanding and failing to understanding the classics

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I’m writing this from Bangor, where I’m at a conference on Cultural Translation and East Asia; and in about an hour’s time, I’ll be in a panel where I’ll talking about the Chinese classic the Yijing 易經 (I Ching) and about my novel-in-progress, A Book of Changes, which puts the Yijing to work as a kind of literature machine, giving rise to …

Divination and Doubt

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For the last seven years or so, I have been up to my ears in one of the strangest books in the world, the Yijing 易經, or Book of Changes. The Yijing  (or, as it is often more popularly known, the I Ching) is, by any measure, one of the oddest books in existence: a bronze-age manual for governing, a …