Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

John Martone


Nguyen Du's Truyen Kieu or Tale of Kieu has arguably provided a life model for Vietnamese females. The poem's influence extends in important ways to contemporary Vietnamese writers as well, including those as politically and artistically diverse as Duong Thu Huong and Le Ly Hayslip. In Novel Without a Name, Paradise of the Blind and Memories of a Pure Spring, Duong Thu Huong transforms the terms of Nguyen Du's poem to those of Vietnam during its revolutionary period and today. As an overseas Vietnamese who had earlier experienced prostitution and the moral chaos of war, Le Ly Hayslip's experience clearly has much in common with Kieu's story. Whereas Duong Thu Huong uses the Truyen Kieu as the ground for shaping a critique her society, Hayslip's use of the poem is nostalgic or recuperative. In both cases, however, Vietnam's national poem offers a common vocabulary and ground for contemporary Vietnamese both at home and overseas.