英国历史课本:中国印象(1)

我最近看了一套新编的英国中学历史教科书 (2008年出版)。

这套教科书,竟然提到了中国。

History in Progress (出版社:Heinemann)的这套书,第一册里,有四页介绍中国,第二册共有八页。

我在英国的中学工作,过去从没有看过一本教科书有提到中国,更不会提到鸦片战争。所谓的世界史,只读欧洲和美国。就算是谈二战,重点也是在欧洲。

因此,看到了这套新的教科书里有提到中国,我认真看了一下。

英国新编历史课本:开始对中国有兴趣了(出版社:Heinemann)

第一册是给七年级的学生读的(11-12岁)。这本书的第二单元是:生活和工作,有以下的几个主题:

1)公元1000年,英格兰人的生活是怎么样的?(How did people live in England in 1000)

2) 在诺曼人的统治下,人们的生活如何改变? (How did life change under Norman rule?)

3) 在中世纪时,在中国生活的情况怎么样?(What was life like in China in the Middle Ages?)

4)在中世纪时,在伦敦生活的情况怎么样?(What was life like in London in the Middle Ages?)

5)中古时期的英国人害怕什么?(What did medieval English people fear?)

6) 在中世纪时期,女人的生活如何?(What was life like for women in the Middle Ages?)

7) 印刷机如何改变世界? (How did the printing press change the world?)

8)在都铎时期,谁照顾穷人?(Who looked after the poor in Tudor times?)

9) 在都铎时期,人们如何享乐?(How did people enjoy themselves in Tudor times?)

介绍了这九个主题后,还有一个文化总结。总结的标题是:“比较中古时期,在中国和英格兰的生活”(Life in medieval China and England)

单看这个单元介绍,我就看到了中国的力量。

过去,对英国学生而言,中国是不存在的。可是,这一个单元里,重点却是中国和英格兰的比较。为什么不比较英格兰和东京?为什么不比较英格兰和曼谷?

在介绍中国的这四页里,第一个重点是中国的发明(Chinese inventions),第二个重点是“在元大都(汗八里)城市的生活是怎么样的?”(What was life like in the city of Khanbaliq?)

“中国的发明”共占两页,课文放了上面这一张古画,古意盎然。

标题是:What do you know about China?(中国你知道多少?)

课文是这么写的:These days China is one of the most important countries in the world. It has a population of about 1.3 billion. That’s more than 20 times the population of the United Kingdom. Many of the things that we use in our day-to-day lives are made in China.

(现在,中国是世上最重要的国家之一。中国人口约有13亿,比英国多出了20倍。我们今天日常使用的东西,很多都是在中国制造的。)

接着又谈了中国的几大发明:Postal service, cannons, porcelain, paper money, silk, canals, printing, gunpowder, iron and steel. (邮递服务、火炮、瓷器、纸币、丝绸、运河、印刷术、火药、钢铁)

看到了‘邮递服务’,我还真吓了一跳。原来,课文是这么说的:“在十三世纪,中国有出色的邮递服务。皇帝享有最佳的服务。可靠的使者骑马替皇帝送信。每隔几公里,就换一匹新的马,这样,一天就可以走上400公里。第二等的信件,由信使步行送信,5里一站。”

(In the thirteenth century China had an efficient postal service. The best service was for the Emperor’s letters. These were carried by trusted messengers on horseback. They were given fresh horses every few kilometres so that they could travel up to 400 kilometres a day. Second class messages were carried by foot-runners with relay-stations 5 kilometres apart.  )

其他内容,下回再叙。

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Janet Williams 張玉雲

I am Janet Williams, an academic living in the southeast of England. I blog about culture, history, languages and my community. I created Chandler's Ford Today. During my spare time, I make Origami. Thank you for stopping by.

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