Michael Wood is doing a free public lecture ‘Voyages, Traffiques, Discoveries’ for the Hakluyt Society this Friday, 25/11, 5-6.45PM Examination Schools (South), Oxford. No registration is required.
We would love to see you there!
Historian, broadcaster and filmmaker Michael Wood will be speaking on Friday in Oxford as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations for Richard Hakluyt who died the same year as Shakespeare in 1616. Hakluyt is an absolutely fascinating figure says Michael, his book is an astounding compilation of English voyages and discoveries up to his time – what we might call the beginnings of the great British historical adventure.
(Michael tells us:) Speaking personally, I have loved travelling since I was a teenager- first hitching round Europe, sleeping in the mountains of Greece; then further afield. And as a film maker, I have been lucky enough to have had the chance to make many documentary films which have followed great journeys in History- not staying in Hilton hotels, but on the ground, sleeping out, going over the terrain with great figures in history, texts in hand.
In the late nineties we followed Alexander the Great’s entire route from Greece through Iran and Central Asia to India; a series which has been seen in 130 territories. Then our Conquistadors series involved epic journeys in the footsteps of Cortes, Pizarro, Orellana and Cabeza de Vaca in Central America, the Andes and Amazonia. More recently I followed Antonio Andrade’s literally fantastic journey from India to Western Tibet and Mount Kailash and this year in the Story of China I had the chance to reprise the Buddhist monk Xuanzang’s epic journey from China to India along the Silk Road. So the themes of this exciting and path breaking conference are very near to my heart. It is no surprise that I think travel broadens the mind!!
In my talk I shall be telling some intriguing stories from Mexico, China and South India in the Age of Discovery and showing clips from several of our films. Each of the stories opens up themes which are still really important to us today – namely the Western impact on the world and our understanding of other cultures and civilisations whose values are different from our own – in other words, our sympathy and empathy for ‘the Other.’ To my mind these are still relevant, indeed burning issues in the 21st century. A couple of tales and clips will be less known to the audience, and one I hope will be for nearly everyone, a total and delightful surprise!!