Teleconference: The Tale of Kieu in English

Eric Henry will inaugurate the Viet Nam Literature Seminar
with his lecture, “The Tale of Kieu: Some Translators’ Approaches to the Vietnamese National Poem” on Thursday, September 16, 2010, at 5 PM (NY).

The webinar, followed by discussion, will take at least one and a half
hours and will close at 7 PM (NY).

The Talk

“The Tale of Kieu: Some Translators’ Approaches to the Vietnamese National Poem” serves equally as an introduction to the poem for English-language readers and as an in-depth discussion of Nguyen Du’s prosody for Vietnamese literature specialists.

Eric Henry is Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.   He interviewed revolutionary defectors as an enlisted man in the United States Army.  Author of the first English article on the Chinese Kim Van Kieu, he most recently has translated and annotated the memoirs of Pham Duy.

Eric goes through the choices made by English translators of Kieu to
convey different aspects of Nguyen Du’s work. This year’s iteration of
the lecture will add discussion of Timothy Allen’s version to discussion
of those by Huynh Sanh Thong (Yale’s wartime Vietnamese instructor) and Vladislav Zhukov (an Australian rifleman in Viet Nam).

Eric will broadcast by teleconference with an in-person audience from the porch of the Viet Nam Literature Project, in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Handouts will be posted at the Tale of Kieu entry on Wikivietlit.


All are invited to join the webinar. A previous version of the talk delighted an audience of twenty-one, including Vietnamese Studies researchers such as Erik Harms, Ben Kiernan, and Christian Lentz as well as Asianists from Carolina and Duke, visitors from Viet Nam, rural neighbors and tech colleagues.

Please contact Dan Duffy,, for the dial-in number and conference code. There is no charge beyond normal costs for your phone service.  If you would prefer to join us on the porch, you are welcome.

We see the seminar as a public event.  Requesting the dial-in number will be taken as permission to post audio and transcript of all discussion to the VNLP website. Reveal your identity as you see fit.

The Seminar

The Viet Nam Literature Seminar is convened to create and promote a usable critical tradition in English on topics in Vietnamese literature, broadly conceived, of widespread interest. Seminars will take place annually on dates of commemoration meaningful among Vietnamese people and as well to the public in France, the United States, and Australia.

They are inspired by lectures by M. Fournie at Langues O, Mme. Langlet’s seminar at the Sorbonne, and Chris Goscha’s at EHESS which I took part in over 2000-2001 thanks to a Chateaubriand fellowship. M. Fournie’s sense of national service, Mme. Langlet’s burden of transmitting a tradition, and Goscha’s inclusion of as many of Paris’ many networks of Vietnamese thought as possible all inspire me.

In this first academic year the Viet Nam Literature Seminar will begin to commemorate the death anniversary of Nguyen Du, with Eric Henry’s lecture; Armistice Day (EU) and Veterans Day (US), with an interview of novelist David A. Willson by Marc Leepson, arts editor of The Veteran; the fall of Saigon, with Dana Sachs and a panel of Babylift orphans; and Asian Pacific Heritage Month, with an interview of poet Linh Dinh by Da Mau critic Thuy Dinh on his new novel, Love Like Hate.


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