Frances Wood (
Chinese name Wú Fāngsī 吴芳思; born 1948) is an
English librarian, sinologue and historian known for her writings on
Chinese history, including Marco Polo, life in the Chinese treaty
ports, and the First Emperor of China.
4 External links
Wood was born in
London in 1948, and went to art school in Liverpool
in 1967, before going to
Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College, Cambridge University where
she studied Chinese. She went to China to study Chinese at Peking
University in 1975–1976.
Frances Wood (standing) with Russian Tangutologist
Ksenia Kepping in
Wood joined the staff of the
British Library in
London in 1977 as a
junior curator, and later served as Curator of Chinese collections
until her retirement in 2013. She is also a member of the
Steering Committee of the International Dunhuang Project, and the
editor of the Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society. She was
also a Governor of
Ashmount Primary School
Ashmount Primary School for 20 years. relinguishing
this post on the completion of her current term of office in July
She has argued in her 1995 book, Did
Marco Polo go to China?, that the
Marco Polo (Il Milione) is not the account of a single person,
but is a collection of travellers' tales.
In May 2012, she appeared on In Our Time on Radio Four, talking about
Marco Polo; she appeared again in the 2015 episode on Chinese
legalism. In December 2012 she appeared on the Christmas University
Challenge special as a member of the
Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College, Cambridge team.
1985 Chinese illustration. British Library.
1991 (with Norah M. Titley). Oriental Gardens. British Library.
Marco Polo go to China?. Secker & Warburg.
2000 Hand-grenade practice in Peking: my part in the Cultural
Revolution. John Murray. ISBN 978-0-7195-5781-1
2000 No Dogs and Not Many Chinese: Treaty Port Life in China,
1843-1943. John Murray. ISBN 978-0-7195-6400-0
2002 The Silk Road: Two Thousand Years in the Heart of Asia.
University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-23786-5
2005 The Forbidden City. British Museum Press.
2007 The First Emperor of China. Profile Books.
2008 China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors. St. Martin's
Press. ISBN 978-0-312-38112-7
2009 The Lure of China: Writers from
Marco Polo to J. G. Ballard. Yale
University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-15436-8
2010 (with Mark Barnard). The Diamond Sutra: The Story of the World's
Earliest Dated Printed Book. British Library.
2017 Great Books of China. Head of Zeus. ISBN 9781786694515
^ "Frances Wood". In Our Time. 24 May 2012.
BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18
^ "Frances Wood". Desert Island Discs. 5 December 2010. BBC.
^ a b "Staff Research Profiles : Dr Frances Wood". British
Library. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
^ Hutton, ALice (6 June 2013). "Leading academic Dr Frances Wood
retires with warning: '
British Library should forget about duvets in
its gift shop – and get back to research'". Camden New Journal.
Archived from the original on 26 August 2014.
^ "IDP People". British Library. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
Frances Wood on
Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs (broadcast 5 December 2010)
Frances Wood on In Our Time discussing
Marco Polo (broa