Saturday, January 23 2021


Translations of masterpiece displayed in Paris

Update: September, 17/2020 - 10:00


(From right to left) Vietnamese ambassador to France Nguyễn Thiệp; Ambassador Trần Thị Hoàng Mai, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Delegation to UNESCO; Professor and Southeast Asia researcher Pascal Bourdeaux; and Paris-based literature researcher Nguyễn Sông Hương at the exhibition opening. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — An exhibition featuring translations of Vietnamese masterpiece Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kiều) opened in Paris as part of the activities to mark poet Nguyễn Du’s 255th birthday and commemorate his 200th death anniversary.

The exhibition entitled Kim Vân Kiều và Các Bản Dịch (Kim Vân Kiều & Translations) includes over 100 book titles with 70 translations in 21 different languages.

Among these is the first translation in French by the orientalist Professor Abel des Michels in 1884.

“The exhibition is being held to commemorate Nguyễn Du, who is regarded as one of the greatest Vietnamese poets,” Ambassador Trần Thị Hoàng Mai, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), said.

“A UNESCO Resolution in 2013 pledged to work with Việt Nam to celebrate Nguyễn Du’s 250th birthday at UNESCO's headquarter and many other places around the world.

“People whose birth anniversaries have been celebrated in association with UNESCO are eminent personalities who made great contributions to world culture, education and science. Nguyễn Du is among them.”

Nguyễn Du (1765 – 1820) was honoured in 1965 by the World Peace Council, along with eight others, for his devotion to Vietnamese literature and world culture.

He was also recognised as a World Cultural Figure by UNESCO at its 37th General Conference session in Paris in 2013.

French and Vietnamese people attended the exhibition opening including Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyễn Thiệp, Professor and Southeast Asia researcher Pascal Bourdeaux, and Paris-based literature researcher Nguyễn Sông Hương.

The exhibition is being held at the Việt Nam Centre in France with support from Vietnamese researchers living there. 

“This is the first time that the most complete translations have been shown with 73 versions,” said researcher Hương.

“It is a difficult process because the translations are very old and not many are left. Most of the translations are outside Việt Nam.”

Over the past 140 years, generations of translators and poets have constantly overcome difficulties and obstacles in language and culture to convey The Tale of Kiều in various languages, bringing the Vietnamese masterpiece to the world.

A set of stamps commemorating Nguyễn Du’s 200th death anniversary and a painting by Vietnamese-French Ngọc Thạnh are also on display.

A short documentary titled Nguyễn Du With the Hometown of Hà Tĩnh made by Hà Tĩnh Television Station is being screened at the exhibition.

The exhibition will run until September 26 at the Sudestasie bookstore in District 5, Paris. — VNS

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