Batman and Judge Dee

BatmanĀ and the Medieval Chinese Detective Stories of Judge Dee 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19 with Jennifer Dare. This will be the final “Northwest College Professor of the Month Talk.” Jennifer is an Assistant Professor of English.

Batman, one of the most well-known super-heroes in American pop-culture, is remarkable simply because he has no super-powers. He was not born on an alien planet, nor was he bitten by a radioactive spider. Instead, he is a man bent on uncovering the truth and punishing the wicked, who has trained himself physically, emotionally, and mentally to take on the role of a superhero.

But did you know that Batman’s skills, abilities, and methods have predecessors in the ancient tradition of the medieval Chinese judge? Judge Dee, one of the most famous of heroes in the tradition of the Chinese detective novel, was also a common man who trained himself to uncommon skills. Centuries before Batman, stories of Chinese judges uncovering the truth and punishing the wicked, acting as a law unto themselves, were popular in the highly regulated and civilized world of Imperial China. This talk will discuss the relationship of the modern-day superhero, Batman, with his venerable ancestor, Judge Dee.

The series has been sponsored by the Northwest College Foundation and the Park County Library Foundation.