Francophone Vietnamese Literature

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Francophone Vietnamese Literature refers to a body of literature written in French by writers of Vietnamese origin. What is "French" and what is "Vietnamese" are questions debated among readers as well as authors, a struggle with ambiguity which itself characterizes the field of study.

Social Background: Vietnamese Francophony

There have been French speakers, both from abroad and native-born, in what are now the national boundaries of Viet Nam at least since the seventeenth century. They included other Asians and Westerners as well as French and Vietnamese, and formed networks both of Christian communicants as well as traders that ranged beyond both France and Viet Nam.

The French language was institutionalized in Viet Nam with formal French colonization in the late nineteenth century. The use of French was spread through religious and educational institutions, and accompanied the rapid growth of the Vietnamese national script, or quốc ngữ. French and Vietnamese also became the official languages on all government correspondence and documents; official use of Chinese was virtually made obsolete with the suppression of the civil service examinations in 1915 and 1918.

Because the French believed in assimilation and the "mission civilisatrice," they established a Franco-Vietnamese school system in which they educated a Vietnamese elite in French culture, history, and language. The graduating students would usually go on to become low-level civil servants and administrators in the colonial government. These schools played an important role in creating and fostering bilingualism in Vietnam, and by 1936, it was estimated that one out of ten Vietnamese was bilingual in French and Vietnamese.

Lily Chiu started this entry. See the History tab for authorship of revisions.

Selected Literary Bibliography

Within Wikivietlit, consult the category Working in French.

Cung Giu Nguyen, Le Fils de baleine. Paris: A. Fayard, 1956.

---. Le Domaine maudit. Paris: A. Fayard, 1961.

Linda Lê. Un si tendre vampire. Paris: Editions Table Ronde, 1987.

---. Fuir. Paris: Editions Table Ronde, 1988.

---. Solo. Paris: Editions Table Ronde, 1989 (short stories).

---. Les Évangiles du crime. Paris: Editions Julliard, 1992.

---. Calomnies. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 1993.

---. Les Dits d’un idiot. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 1995.

---. Les Trois Parques. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 1997.

---. Voix. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 1998.

---. Lettre morte. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 1999.

---. Tu écriras sur le bonheur. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1999 (essays).

---. Les Aubes. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 2000.

---. Marina Tsvetaïeva. Paris: Editions Jean-Michel Place, 2002.

---. Autres jeux avec le feu. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur 2002.

---. Personne. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 2003.

---. Le Complexe de Caliban. Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur, 2005 (essays).

Kim Lefèvre's Retour à la saison des pluies.jpg

Kim Lefèvre. Métisse blanche. Paris: Editions Bernard Barrault, 1989.

---. Retour à la saison des pluies. Paris: Editions Bernard Barrault, 1990.

---. Moi, Marina la Malinche: Roman. Paris: Editions Stock, 1994.

Ly Thu Ho. Printemps inachevé. Paris: J. Peyronnet et Cie, Editeurs, 1962.

---. Au milieu du carrefour. Paris: Editions Peyronnet, 1969.

---. Le Mirage de la paix. Paris: Les Muses du Parnasse, 1986.

Anna Moï. L'Echo des rizières. Paris: Editions de l'Aube, 2001.

---. Parfum de pagode. Paris: Editions de l'Aube, 2003.

---. Riz noir. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 2004.

---. Rapaces. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 2005.

---. Violon. Paris: Editions Flammarion, 2006.

Nguyen Huu Chau. Les reflets de nos jours. Paris: René Julliard, 1955.

Nguyen Phan Long. Le Roman de Mademoiselle Lys. Hanoi: Imprimerie tonkinoise, 1921 (first published Francophone Vietnamese novel).

Nguyen Tien Lang. Eurydice. Hanoi: Editions Dong-Tay, 1933 (novel in Vietnamese and French on facing pages; winner of the Prix d'Indochine).

---. Indochine la douce. Hanoi: Editions Nam Ky, 1935 (essays).

Elula Perrin. Les femmes préfèrent les femmes. Paris: Ramsay, 1977 (memoir, translated into English as Women Prefer Women. New York: Bantam, 1980)

---.Tant qu'il y aura des femmes. Paris: Ramsay, 1978 (translated into English as So Long As There Are Women. New York: Morrow, 1980)

---.Mousson de femmes. Paris: Double Interligne, 2000 (novel).

Pham Duy Khiem. De Hanoi à la Courtine, novel, 1941 (reissued in 1958 as La Place d'un Homme, Paris: Librairie Plon).
Pham Duy Khiem book cover.jpg

---. Mélanges. Hanoi: Taupin, 1942 (a collection of newspaper articles).

---. Légendes des Terres Sereines. Paris: Mercure de France, 1942 (novel, winner of the Prix Littéraire D'Indochine).

---. La Jeune Femme de Nam Xuong, novel, 1944.

---. Nam et Sylvie. Paris: Librairie Plon, 1957 (published under the pseudonym Nam Kim; winner of the Louis Barthou award from the French Academy).

Pham Van Ky. Frères de sang. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1947.

---. Les Yeux courroucés. Paris: Gallimard, 1958.

---. Les Contemporains. Paris: Gallimard, 1959.

---. Perare la demeure. Paris: Gallimard, 1961 (winner of the Grand Prix du Roman from the Académie française, 1961).

---. Des Femmes assises çà et là. Paris: Gallimard, 1964.

Phan Huy Duong. Conception et réalisation assistées par ordinateur de logiciels de gestion. Paris: Masson, 1983.

---. Un Amour métèque: Nouvelles. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1994.

---. Littérature contemporaine du Vietnam, article dans Dictionnaire universel de la littérature contemporaine. Paris: PUF, 1995.

---. Penser librement. Lyon: Éditions Chronique Sociale, 2000.

Tran Van Tung. Bach-Yên ou la fille au coeur fidèle. Paris: J. Susse, 1946.

Trinh Thuc Oanh. En s'écartant des ancêtres . Hanoi: Imprimerie d'Extrême-Orient, 1939.

---. La Tortue d'or. Hanoi: Imprimerie d'Extrême-Orient, 1940.

---. La Réponse de l'Occident. Hanoi: Imprimerie d'Extrême-Orient, 1941.

Trong, Lucien. Enfer rouge mon amour. Paris: Editions Seuil, 1980.

Truong Dinh Tri et Albert de Teneuille. Bà–Ðầm: Roman franco-annamite. Paris: Fasquelle, 1930.

Selected Critical Bibliography

Karl Ashoka Britto. Disorientation: France, Vietnam, and the Ambivalence of Interculturality. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2004.

---. "History, Memory, and Narrative Nostalgia: Pham Duy Khiem's Nam et Sylvie." Yale French Studies 98 (2000): 135-148.

Lily Veronica Chiu. "Alter/Native: Imagining and Performing the Native Woman in Francophone and Vietnamese Literature." Diss., University of Michigan, 2004.

Tess Do. "From Incest to Exile: Linda Lê and teh Incestuous Vietnamese Immigrants." France and "Indochina": Cultural Representations. Ed. Kathryn Robson and Jennifer Yee. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2005. 165-177.

Sharon Julie Lim-Hing. "Vietnamese Novels in French: Rewriting Self, Gender and Nation." Diss., Harvard University, 1993.

Lisa Lowe. "Literary Nomadics in Francophone Allegories of Postcolonialism: Pham Van Ky and Tahar Ben Jelloun." Yale French Studies 82 (1993): 43-61.

Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen. "A Classical Heroine and her Modern Manifestation: The Tale of Kieu and Its Modern Parallels in Printemps inachevé." The French Review 73.3 (2000): 454-62.

---. "Writing and Memory in Kim Lefèvre's Autobiographical Narratives." Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context 5 (2001): 1-8.

---. "Across Colonial Borders: Patriarchal Constraints and Vietnamese Women in the Novels of Ly Thu Ho." Of Vietnam: Identities in Dialogue. Ed. Jane Bradley Winston and Leakthina Chau-Pech Ollier. New York: Palgrave, 2001. 193-210.

---. Vietnamese Voices: Gender and Cultural Identity in the Vietnamese Francophone Novel. DeKalb, IL: Southeast Asia Publications, Northern Illinois University, 2003.

Leakthina Chau-Pech Ollier. "Consuming Culture: Linda Lê's Autofiction." Of Vietnam: Identities in Dialogue. Ed. Jane Bradley Winston and Leakthina Chau-Pech Ollier. New York: Palgrave, 2001. 241-50.

Pamela Pears. Remnants of Empire in Algeria and Vietnam: Women, Words, and War. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006.

Srilata Ravi. "Revisiting Vietnam, locating home in Kim Lefèvre's Retour à la saison des pluies." International Journal of Francophone Studies 5-1 (April 2002).

Jane Bradley Winston. "Playing Hardball: Linda Lê's Les Trois Parques". France and "Indochina": Cultural Representations. Ed. Kathryn Robson and Jennifer Yee. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2005. 193-206.

Jack A. Yeager. The Vietnamese Novel in French: A Literary Response to Colonialism. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1987.

Francophone Vietnamese Literature Online