Cover of Truyện Kiều by translator Huỳnh Sanh Thông in 1973. Photo buivanphu.wordpress.com
HÀ NỘI — A talk to discuss Vietnamese literary pieces will be held at Manzi Art Space in Hà Nội on July 1.
The talk, named Wounds That Can’t Be Bandaged: The Imperfect Translation of Women’s Suffering in The Tale of Kiều and The Sorrow of War, will be led by speaker Hà Trang.
According to the organisers, Trang will share results of her research on two of Việt Nam’s most important literary pieces that were translated into English – Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kiều) and Nỗi Buồn Chiến Tranh (The Sorrow of War).
Truyện Kiều was written by Nguyễn Du in the early 19th century (translated by Huỳnh Sanh Thông) and Nỗi Buồn Chiến Tranh was penned by Bảo Ninh in 1987 (translated by Frank Palmos).
Though separated by more than 150 years both pieces examine the plight of women under the Confucian patriarchal society.
By comparing and contrasting the two figures of Kiều and Phương, the speaker will divulge the unchanging patriarchal oppression experienced by women in Việt Nam despite a radical change of societal discourse from imperialism to the present.
Trang will also discuss a related aspect of colonising patriarchal disempowerment – the issues of translation from Vietnamese to English in The Sorrow of War.
Trang graduated from Washington and Lee University, Virginia with double majors in English and Chinese in 2020. She is currently the editor of Trạm Radio, a weekly podcast about Vietnamese literature.
In 2019, she collaborated with Matca to publish Makét 01: A Vietnamese Photography Village.
The event will be held by Manzi Art, Zzz Review and Trạm Radio with support by Hà Nội Goethe Institute. It will be conducted in Vietnamese only.
It will begin at 7pm at 14 Phan Huy Ích Street with free entry. — VNS