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The Song of Kieu: A New Lament [9780241360668]

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This manuscript is ancient, priceless,
bamboo-rolled, perfumed with musty spices.
Sit comfortably by this good light, that you may learn
the hard-won lesson that these characters contain.

The Song of Kieu is the greatest classic of Vietnamese literature. It tells the story of the beautiful Vuong Thuy Kieu, who agrees to a financially profitable marriage in order to save her family from ruinous debts, but is tricked into working in a brothel. Her tragic career involves jealous wives, slavery, war, poverty and she becomes a nun twice. There are high points, such as when she teams up with a muscle-bound, tender-hearted rebel hero who makes her his queen and summons all her wrongdoers to account, but the ending is bittersweet.

'To the Vietnamese people themselves, [it] is much more than just a glorious heirloom from their literary past,' says Professor Alexander Woodside of the University of British Columbia. 'It has become a kind of continuing emotional laboratory in which all the great and timeless issues of personal morality and political obligation are tested and resolved.'


AUTHOR: Nguyen Du (1766-1820) was born into turbulent times. His mother (a singer-songwriter) and his father (a poet, historian and senior figure in the Le dynasty that had ruled Vietnam for centuries) died before he reached his teens; the Le dynasty itself was overthrown in 1789 by a peasant uprising. When that uprising was in turn crushed (1802), Nguyen Du reluctantly accepted a diplomatic post in what would become Vietnam's final dynasty. Outwardly respectful to his new masters, he wroteThe Song of Kieu secretly, as an act of private rebellion. It remains perhaps the greatest masterpiece of Vietnamese literature.
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SKU:
9780241360668
UPC:
9780241360668
Availability:
Delivery Usually In 6-10 Working Days
Author:
Nguyen Du
Publisher:
Penguin Classics
Publication:
25-Apr-2019
Format:
Paperback
Pages:
240

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