Descendants of Lu Xun, Dante boost Sino-Italy cultural exchange

“The descendants of Chinese writer Lu Xun and Italian poet Dante Alighieri held a dialogue in Shanghai on Thursday in a bid to boost cultural exchanges between China and Europe.

“The trans-time-and-space dialogue between Lu (1881-1936), the “father of modern Chinese literature,” and Dante (1265-1321) was held at the Shanghai International Studies University in Hongkou District, where Lu spent the last decade of his life.

“Zhou Lingfei, the grandson of Lu, whose real name was Zhou Shuren, and Sperello Di Serego Alighieri, the 19th generation grandson of Dante, discussed the contributions and common features of their ancestors’ works.” […]    –Yang Jian, Shine, April 27, 2018

“Umberto Eco: ‘It’s culture, not war, that cements European identity'”

umberto-eco-its-culture-not-war-that-cements-european-identity

“‘When it comes to the debt crisis,’ says Eco, ‘and I’m speaking as someone who doesn’t understand anything about the economy, we must remember that it is culture, not war, that cements our [European] identity. The French, the Italians, the Germans, the Spanish and the English have spent centuries killing each other. Today, we’ve been at peace for 70 years and no one realises how amazing that is any more. Indeed, the very idea of a war between Spain and France, or Italy and Germany, provokes hilarity. The United States needed a civil war to unite properly. I hope that culture and the [European] market will do the same for us.’ . . .
So whose faces should we print on our banknotes, to remind the world that we are not merely ‘shallow’ Europeans, but profound? ‘Perhaps not politicians or the leaders who have divided us – not Cavour or Radetzky, but men of culture who have united us, from Dante to Shakespeare, from Balzac to Rossellini.’ ” [. . .]    –Gianni Riotta, The Guardian, January 26, 2012

“Jean-Claude Trichet: Like the Single Currency, Our European Culture Binds Us Together”

jean-claude-trichet-like-the-single-currency-our-european-culture-binds-us
“I am convinced that economic and cultural affairs, that money and literature and poetry, are much more closely linked than many people believe. We should recall that writing came into being in Sumer, the cradle of civilisation between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, 6,000 years ago. Sumer’s administrators made a record of everyday items, of quantities, of transactions, on clay tablets. By recording these economic activities, these ‘proto-accountants’ created the first documents in human history and paved the way for all of the world’s written literature.
There is a relationship between poetry and money which has always struck me. Poems, like gold coins, are meant to last, to keep their integrity, sustained by their rhythm, rhymes and metaphors. In that sense, they are like money – they are a ‘store of value’ over the long term. They are both aspiring to inalterability, whilst they are both destined to circulate from hand to hand and from mind to mind.
Both culture and money, poems and coins belong to the people. Our currency belongs to the people of Europe in a very deep sense: it is their own confidence in their currency which makes it a successful medium of exchange, unit of account and store of value. Our culture is the wealth of literature and art that the confidence of the people has decided to preserve over time.
European-ness means being unable to understand my national literature and poetry without understanding Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare. And as the Spanish philosopher Jose’ Ortega y Gasset wrote in his The Revolt of the Masses in 1930: ‘If we were to take an inventory of our mental stock today – opinions, standards, desires, assumptions – we should discover that the greater part of it does not come to the Frenchman from France, nor to the Spaniard from Spain, but from the common European stock.’
It is no coincidence that the European Central Bank chose European architectural styles to illustrate our banknotes. These architectural styles were born in very different areas of Europe. They provide another powerful illustration of this unique concept of unity within diversity, which is the central trait of our continent.
European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet was speaking at the Centre for Financial Studies in Frankfurt earlier this week.”    —The Independent, March 19, 2009

Jean-Luc Godard, “Notre Musique” (2004)

jeanluc-godard-notre-musique-2004“The 73-year-old director’s serene meditation on Europe’s landscape after battle has an unusually obvious triptych structure, with each panel (or act) named for one of Dante’s three ‘kingdoms.’ The central, hour-long ‘Purgatory’ of a writers’ conference in Sarajevo bridges the opening 10-minute ‘Hell’ and a concluding 10-minute ‘Heaven.'” [. . .]    –J. Hoberman, The Village Voice, November 24-30, 2004