The Tale of Kieu


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A Bilingual Edition of Nguyen Du's Truyen Kieu

Translated by Huynh Sanh Thong; With an Historical Essay by Alexander B. Woodside

View Inside Format: Paper
Price: $28.00
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Since its publication in the early nineteenth century, this long narrative poem has stood unchallenged as the supreme masterpiece of Vietnamese literature. Thông’s new and absorbingly readable translation (on pages facing the Vietnamese text) is illuminated by notes that give comparative passages from the Chinese novel on which the poem was based, details on Chinese allusions, and literal translations with background information explaining Vietnamese proverbs and folk sayings.

"Kieu, a minor footnote to Chinese history, became through the genius of Nguyen Du a Vietnamese metaphor whose significance has changed with times and audiences. If anyone can make Kieu and her enduring attraction to Vietnamese readers accessible to Americans, it is Huynh Sanh Thong."—Hue-Tam Ho Tai, Pacific Affairs

"This English version of Vietnam’s national poem will contribute to a better understanding of the people of Vietnam and of their traumatic experience in death and war, in exodus and separation."—Nguyen Dinh-Hoa, Washington Post Book World

"The Tale of Kieu occupies a very special place in Vietnamese literature… Thông should be commended for a very close rendering of the original. His understanding of the Vietnamese language, its subtleties, and its nuances apparently has no equal."—Truong Buu Lam, Journal of Asian Studies

"Near perfect. . . . Should be read by those who want to know the heart and mind of the Vietnamese people."—Tran Van Dinh, Asia

"The new notes add immensely to the richness of the translation, allowing the careful reader a detailed glimpse into the author’s world of literary images and deepening one’s appreciation for his subtle skill of expression. Anyone seeking to understand the Vietnamese people, their cultural outlook and mentality, can profitably begin with this book."—K. W. Taylor, JSEAS (Singapore)

"Huynh Sanh Thông’s splendidly controlled blank verse is as close a representation as one could ask for of the concise, tightly balanced, epigrammatic quality of the original poem; and his marvelously thorough notes and introductory material plus the bilingual text make this edition a continuous joy to use."—Eric Henry, University of North Carolina

"For decades this poem has been read, sung and taught in schools in the melodious tonal language of Vietnam. We can now read, sing and teach the same novel in English, thanks to this marvelous job of translation and interpretation."—Dinh-Hoa Nguyen, World Literature Today

"Of great interest to both scholars and admirers of Vietnamese culture. . . . Kieu's undying love endears herself to the Vietnamese, and poet Du is eulogized for creating a figure of pathos with whom the nation can identify. Kieu symbolizes feminine beauty and innocence; her tragic fate mirrors Vietnam's."—Nguyen Ngoc Bich, Asiaweek

"This 3,254-line narrative poem is the national cultural treasure of Vietnam—the equivalent of Shakespeare, Chaucer, the Holy Bible and Bartlett's Quotations rolled into one. . . . No one with a pretense of serious interest in Vietnam can afford to be ignorant of this work."—Indochina Quarterly
ISBN: 9780300040517
Publication Date: September 10, 1987
216 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
An Anthology of Vietnamese Poems

From the Eleventh through the Twentieth Centuries

Edited and translated by Hùynh Sanh Thông

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