National Central Library has received another wonderful donation! This lot of rare German books contain 12 titles (69 volumes) published between the last half of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century. They are all classic works from famed German authors, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Heinrich Heine, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Eduard Mörike, and Gottfried Keller. The donation was by the well-known translator Günter Whittome and his wife, Professor Sheng-Ching Chang from Fu Jen Catholic University. National Central Library held a donation ceremony on May 29th to express its thanks. The largest set is Schiller's Complete Works, numbering 17 volumes. The next largest are Goethe's numbering 10, Keller’s numbering 8, and Heinrich’s numbering 5. They are all very exquisite.
Günter Whittome is was born in England but grew up in Germany. The books donated were purchased by his father in West Berlin, which was controlled by the US, France, and England at the end of World War II. At the time, Whittome’s father was in the British army and was a gifted polyglot, teaching German, English, and French.
National Central Library Director-General Shu-hsien Tseng stated, NCL has in its collection around 5,000 old books from the West that were published over 100 years ago. This is an important collection for Taiwan, with part coming from older collections and a large part coming from Li Shizeng, one of the early leaders of the Republic. Li established the Sino-International Library in Geneva in the 1930s. In the 1950s, the library’s holdings were transferred to Uruguay. It was not until the 1990s that they were transferred back to the NCL in Taiwan. Many wonderful old books were part of the collection. Also, not too long ago the collector Chengdingtang deposited a collection of old books at NCL, all of which were rare copies of books from the 15th to the 19th centuries.
During the donation ceremony, Director-General Shu-hsien Tseng especially expressed her thanks and respect to Günter Whittome and his wife, Professor Chang. She stated that NCL will ensure that these books are properly stored and cataloged, and that in time they will be digitized to allow the greatest possible use for research or pleasure reading. In this way, these old books can be better utilized, and their value more fully appreciated.
Günter Whittome has substantial experience as a certified translator for Chinese (interpretation and translatoin) and English (translation) in Germany. He is a court translator in Hanover, Germany for both Chinese and English. From 1981-1990, he studied Chinese at the University of Tübingen and the University of Hamburg. His emphasis was the 228 Incident. In 1991, the Institut für Asienkunde Hamburg published his dissertation, Taiwan 1947: der Aufstand gegen die Kuomintang.
Professor Chang teaches in the history department at Fu Jen Catholic University. She received her doctorate degree in art from the Humboldt University of Berlin. She has extensively researched images, especially Chinese elements in Western parks, Western mechanical images, the history of city planning and architecture, pineapple images in Europe, etc. She has also written on Johann Adam Schall von Bell, the Renaissance, German expressionism, and student movements. She used to work in the media, doing both reporting and writing on public opinion regarding academics, society, and life. She is very talented and a prolific writer.