Alan Farrell

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Alan Farrell (1945) writes criticism about French-language texts from Viet Nam. He draws on his experience leading French-speaking national minority infantrymen near the Ho Chi Minh trail and later teaching French language at Hampden-Sydney College and Virginia Military Institute. An arresting public speaker, he delivers most of his work in person.
Alan Farrell in Laos, 1968 (c) Alan Farrell

Farrell's choice of texts and his interpretations distinguish themselves in frankly expounding an elite perspective to command attention for realms of experience that customarily are excluded from middle-class discussion. He frequently draws on experiences as a Special Forces infantryman with the Studies and Observations Group, which operated secretly in or near Laos and communist Viet Nam. He cites the pidgin called tai boi or langue des nha que, spoken to him by highlanders who had fought previously for the French, as an abiding influence.

Farrell himself appears as a source and character in the history Secret Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite Warriors of SOG (NAL Trade, 2005), by John Plaster, the photo book Running Recon: A Photo Journey with SOG Special Ops Along the Ho Chi Minh Trail (Paladin, 2004) by Frank Greco, and in Laura Fairchild Brodie's history Breaking Out: VMI and the Coming of Women (Vintage, 2001). Virginia Military Institute took an oral history of his military service.

Dan Duffy started this entry.

Alan Farrell Presentations on Vietnamese and National Minorities Using French

  • Y sont rien moches, les Amerloques: teaching oral French Humanities, Kansas City 1989
  • Ça faire bon, zef Congrès International d'Etudes Francophones, Martinique, 1990
  • Récits de guerre vietnamiens en langue française Congrès International d'Etudes Francophones, Strasbourg, 1992
  • People of the Ant Popular Culture Association, Louisville, 1992 [In print as "Un peuple de la fourmi," Francographies, 1993]
  • Front du ciel: a Vietnamese Novel of War in the Sky Far West Popular Culture Association, Las Vegas, 1995
  • Francophonie in Vietnam Modern Language Association, Chicago, 2000
  • Internal Exile: Francophone Visions of Youth's Entelechy James Madison University, Harrisonburg, 2002
  • Love Along Route 538: Ho Chi Minh Trail and Humanity in Vietnamese Literature Popular Culture Association, New Orleans, 2003
  • Con Gai: Viet Women Novelists in French Women in French, Reed College, 2004
  • Mothers of Darkness: Images of the Mother in Francophone Novels West Virginia Conference on Foreign Languages, Morgantown, 2004
  • Teaching argot: le langage de la haine Workshop for New Hampshire Association of World Language Teachers, Meredith, 2005

Alan Farrell Presentations on the French in Viet Nam

  • Long Noses, Fat Fingers, Round Eyes: Vietnamese Visions of Outsiders 1939-1975 Popular Culture Association, New Orleans, 1993
  • Le mandarin blanc Congrès International d'Etudes Francophones, Quebec, 1994
  • A Personal Notion of Honor: France in Vietnam Florida Film and Literature, Tallahassee, 1998
  • Atonement with Hecate Popular Culture Association, New Orleans, 2000
  • Schoendoerffer’s Vietnam Popular Culture Association, Philadelphia, 2001
  • Companion to Dragons, Brother to Owls: Captains at War West Virginia University Conference on Film and Literature, Morgantown, 2003
  • Traduction of a Film: Vercel’s Capitaine Conan as Vietnam Commentary Popular Culture Association, San Antonio, 2004
  • Eugène Crampon, Martyr to the West France and the Cold War, Tallahassee, 2005
  • Solvit saeculum: Dissolution d’une section et d’un empire Congrès International d’Etudes Francophones, Ottawa, 2005
  • Parachutes and Petticoats: Brigitte Friang and Madeleine Riffaud Popular Culture Association, Atlanta, 2006