Archie Barnes

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Archie Barnes (1931-2002) was a lecturer in Chinese at the University of Durham from 1961 to 1984 and author of Chinese through poetry.

Barnes showed early abilities in learning languages and learnt Russian, Latin, French, German, Greek, and Chinese as a schoolboy. Barnes studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and in 1951 received a first in Chinese. Barnes initially worked as a translator for Foreign Languages Press, Beijing and then from 1961 as lecturer in Chinese Language and Civilisation at Durham University. He visited China only once in 1960. He retired from ill-health in 1984.

In retirement, Barnes wrote Chinese through poetry, a textbook in classical Chinese poetry. He died in 2002 and the book was published posthumously.


  • Barnes, Archie. Chinese through poetry. Alcuin Academics, 2007. ISBN 1-904623-51-4.
  • website
  • VOLATS system and software developed by Barnes for learning Chinese characters